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Project "FlexiMon": HARTING is researching into the production of the future

Collaboration with University of Bielefeld / Component of top cluster "it's OWL"

(PresseBox) (Espelkamp, ) The HARTING Technology Group is pushing forward technological progress in the area of "Integrated Industry" in close collaboration with scientists. In the framework of the "FlexiMon" research project, HARTING is developing solutions for more flexible production processes. The HARTING approach remains unique, of taking a standardized work plan on the basis of BPMN 2 (Business Process Model and Notation) and using it directly to control the work sequences of a machine. The System can be seen live on the HARTING stand at the SPS/IPC/Drives fair (Hall 10, Stand 140) in Nuremberg.

What is new is the higher degree of modularization within the cells, on the basis of production components with the standardized interfaces of the Han-Modular® connector system. This fulfills the basic requirements for the implementation of Plug&Play applications in the future. An extended machine visualization allows imporovements in direct control. The whole plant is now connected over the HARTING infrastructure boxes which provide the connections to the lifelines of power, signal, data and compressed air for each production cell, and monitor the energy flow. These are also based on the Han-Modular® connector system and the HARTING Smart Power Network Unit.

The "FlexiMon" plant was jointly developed by HARTING and the University of Bielefeld (CoR-Lab & Citec), as Dr. Volker Franke, Managing Director at HARTING Applied Technologies, explains. At the "FlexiMon" plant a visitor can experience how modification of work scheduling on the level of the ERP system leads to changes in the behavior of the plant, without the need for any explicit programming. "Here we are creating the conditions for a real Plug&Produce", says Dr. Franke.

There is a lot of talk about the fourth industrial revolution, in which plant and machinery autonomously provide information about their free capacity and their maintenance condition. But how can these technologies be designed from the start so that they do not just support the people working in production, but are seen by them as an enrichment?

HARTING gets to grips with this research question in, among others, the joint project "Fleximon - flexible assembly concept" with autonomous mechatronic production components. The project is a component of the excellence cluster "it's OWL" which forms part of the "excellence cluster competition" of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research in the framework of the Hightech Strategy 2020 for Germany.

The starting point is the development of a modular production platform. At the center of this platform are configurable autonomous production modules which are equipped with "Plug&Produce" capabilities, their own controllers and a central module-independent Human-Machine Interface.

At the SPS/IPC/Drives fair, the HARTING Technology Group is presenting three modules which contain the processes screwing, stamping and testing. The important thing is that these modules are adaptable in the production process, so that, for example, changes in the work plan for the production of a product directly influence the production level without any further actions.

In future, the modules will offer a Human-Machine Interface to support helper functions for increasing flexibility and configuration in a personalized and efficient form. In this way, it should be possible to combine flexible mechatronic components in production lines without the need for any manual programming on site.

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