Factory of the future

Methods and techniques for computer-integrated
manufacturing, the development and application of artificial
intelligence during the production process and testing of
this in pilot projects

Future key technology in production enterprises will be the determined application of computers and the setting up of a computer heirarchy covering the whole field of information and material flow. However, considerable efforts must still be made in R & D since at present there is a lack of suitable installations, program systems and methods. The aim of the project is the development of methods and techniques for Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM), the development and application of Artificial Intelligence during the production process and the testing of this in pilot projects. The outcome will be more rationalised production as well as far more flexible responses to product changes, customer enquiries, market changes, etc. The project targets require the development and setting up of pilot projects for computer-integrated manufacturing in various branches. In order to achieve a faster transfer of results, the various pilot projects will concentrate on different aspects of the total problem range involved in computer-integrated manufacturing. However, these partial aspects will complement one another. The following topcs will be dealt with: 1. Quality-oriented Production of the Future In the production of freely-formed surfaces, the integration of computers is to be achieved in the sectors planning, design and construction, processing and assembly, material economy as well as quality control. In this context, the interconnection between these sectors with regard to information technology will play a central role. In the design sector, geometric data will be used for the first time for the description of surfaces. For the machine programming, which comes prior to processing and measuring, it is necessary for the geometric data as well as the process and machine information to be available on a general data basis. The design, technology and control of the production machines and coordinated measuring devices must be optimised for application in an integrated system. The feedback of measured geometric data guarantees efficient quality control within the integrated system. 2. Application of an Expert System for Computer-Aided Design (CAD) of process plans in the field of manufacturing of components. The aim of the project is to develop a stepwise implemented Expert System for the time saving and cost effective creation of process plans. According to the meaning of computer-integrated manufacturing, this system should be integrated completely into the working environment (CAD, computer-assisted manufacture (CAM), programmable programs software (PPS) system) and should assist the planner with operations by providing an interactive dialogue for the systematic working out, selection and evaluation of work sequences. 3. Expert System for the Design of Flexible Assembly Systems Within the framework of the project a connection should be established between technical and Artificial Intelligence in the Factory of the Future. Assembly will be one of the main fields for the future application of such methods. The increase in efficiency which is possible here should already be achieved during the planning stage by employing the most advanced hardware and software technology. The project aims to develop and implement prototype Expert Systems for the configuration and control of flexible assembly systems. 4. Computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) Assembly in Precision Engineering and Electronics It is the objective of the project to develop a CIM concept for assembly in precision engineering and electrotechnical plants and to carry out a pilot application using the semiconductor production as an example. The present production methods in this industry are characterised by wage-intensive assembly, high soldering costs, high energy costs as well as little flexibility. The pilot project will lead to the design and creation of an operable prototype of an assembly system for power semiconductors and this will be integrated into a CIM system. Within a short processing time and at moderate costs, the system must be able to produce a great variety of semiconductor modules of a high quality standard.
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Project costs: 
9 440 000.00€
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Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.