In global competition, a decisive factor for manufacturing companies is to be able to adapt the manufacturing processes quickly to changes in production requirements and conditions. As a result of shorter decision paths, SMEs already have a competitive advantage over large companies that is worth strengthening by developing potential at the operational level. To be able to respond with the required speed, the order management and control must be as close as possible to real time, which requires the integration of great quantities of production‐ and machine data.
For this reason, a flexible, collaborative production system that enables real-time-capable control will be developed in the ‘InMachine’ collaborative project. By means of M2M equipment and gateways, a flow of information between the intelligent production machinery and the higher planning levels is realised via middleware. Production and supply aspects, such as energy requirements, availability of materials, or delivery lead times, should be taken into account in the process. The system will also be validated and demonstrated in two typical mid-range production scenarios: continuous series production and discrete (multi-level manufacturing processes) workshop fabrication. The goal is to create decentralised planning intelligence on machinery. This will assess the locally recorded sensor and operating data, recognise critical system conditions such as defects or necessary maintenance work, and solve the problem locally – for example by changing the time of orders or rescheduling to other production machinery. The concept developed as part of the project will be influential both throughout the company – when subcontractors are used or orders and/or production stages are outsourced – as well as beyond corporate borders. The InMachine system solution develops flexible concepts for improving order processing and production flow for manufacturing companies in Germany, thus strengthening their global competitiveness.