Inadequate communication between control logic, machines and the users of production plants as well as logistics systems is one of the main problems facing modern networked manufacturing. Striving towards the vision of Industry 4.0, the SmARPro project (Smart Assistance for Humans in Production Systems) aims to promote the standardized acquisition and processing of operational data using the SmARPro platform. The project particularly considers the fields of logistics (partner Fraunhofer IML), production (partner Fraunhofer IWU) and handling (partner BOSCH).
The SmARPro system
The SmARPro system connects the order level - consisting of control systems, warehouse management systems and enterprise resource planning - with the device level - consisting of wearables and machines.
The SmARPro platform
Creating a connection between man and machine is one of the main tasks for today’s technology. The SmARPro platform achieves this by bringing together the data from SmARPro Wearables and SmARPro SmartDevices. These wearables give employees the ability to visualize the knowledge of the machines and objects around them. The SmARPro platform connects the two levels within the overall system and then exchanges the information by processing the data.
Man and machine
As the key components in manufacturing, man and machine are the focus of the SmARPro project. Via SmARPro SmartDevices the machines are integrated into the process of obtaining information. Sensor technology and communication elements allow data to be collected directly by the machine itself and to consequently transfer the collected data to the SmARPro platform. The SmARPro wearables display this information to the employee, depending on their context and current location, in the form of augmented reality and conventional presentation techniques. Information appears directly on the object in question. People can receive working instructions in this way without interrupting their work processes. SmARPro enables the way information is displayed to undergo a fundamental change. Information appears exactly where people need it when they need it and without any need to intervene.
Possibilities for applications
Optimizing processes by letting individual components communicate with each other is a key priority when applying SmARPro. Applications could range from simple order picking and manufacturing processes to quality management and planning processes. SmARPro can be implemented in quality management to transfer indications of defective batches to employees. By using SmARPro in the field of logistics, information can be generated about decreasing stock within the KANBAN system and technicians can be provided with the relevant assembly instructions and technical support for the order they are dealing with.
Mobile manufacturing plants are adaptable and modular, and they provide more and more flexibility for production. Therefore, it is important that the individual components also display these characteristics. The SmARPro platform facilitates that; components can interact with each other without having to consider manufacturer’s dependencies or different interfaces. So, new devices can be added, old or defective ones can be removed and new ones can be adjusted. To put it in a nutshell you do not have to adapt entire structures for production processes. The processes can be designed completely flexibly and the communication between the individual components will enable them to adapt in the best possible way.