Fraunhofer researchers have developed and built new production plants in record time for the specialty chemicals company LANXESS and many other companies. Methods of digital engineering allow research and development for the planning of products and manufacturing to proceed simultaneously. Visitors to the Hannover Messe from April 7 to 11 (Hall 2, Booth D18) can learn how this works. "We reorganized what has been the usual workflow when developing and implementing custom machinery, for instance," explains Prof. Ulrich Schmucker, manager of the Virtual Engineering Business Unit at the Fraunhofer IFF. "Previously, the design engineers would start, and then the electrical engineers would join in, followed by the programmers and finally the commissioning engineers. With our new methods, everyone works together from the start. The programmers can already start developing software before the machine exists. This step usually doesn't come until the end, once the equipment has been built and connected." This is possible since both the product and every single step of the process are simulated on a computer. The researchers link all of the digital data available.
"We develop custom solutions for whatever clients need," stresses Schmucker. The Fraunhofer IFF's development methods are especially useful for the manufacture of custom maschines and small quantities. Small and medium-sized companies like SM Calvörde, which manufactures rolling stock among other things, Schiess AG, which manufactures machine tools, AEM - Anhaltische Elektromotorenwerk Dessau GmbH, which manufactures large generators, and many others have already successfully implemented systems with Fraunhofer. This research has been funded by the state of Saxony-Anhalt, internal resources and industry projects.