Digitalization optimizes factory planning

Press release – Hannover, 28/03/2018
Planning or redesigning a factory layout is a complex and time-consuming process. The aim of the Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover (IPH) gGmbH is to make the process a lot easier and faster. The researchers work in three research projects on how to optimize analysis, planning and evaluation of factory layouts. The present state of research will be presented at Hannover Messe at the Lower Saxony Pavilion in Hall 2, Stand A08.

Planning a new factory is very complex and time-consuming, redesigning an existing one is even more complicated. But that's what is important to many producing companies in order to stay competitive. For this reason, IPH pursues various approaches in order to simplify, accelerate and improve this process.

The idea is to use a UAV already in the early stage for analysing the actual state of a factory. The UAV scans the factory hall using a 3D camera and creates a three-dimensional factory layout. Presently, factory planners have to enter the individual elements manually into the layout of the hall. A UAV is much faster and able to scan factory areas which are inaccessible for humans, e.g. enclosed robots or conveyor systems.

Up to now, factory planners have to rearrange the individual factory elements in the initial layout manually. Some still use small slips of paper which they rearrange on the printed hall layout, others make already use of a digital factory planning table for virtually rearranging the three-dimensional layout. The user is able to rearrange individual factory elements, try out several variants and view the result in a 3D representation. With the help of an appropriate computer program and a VR goggle, the planners can also go on a virtual tour across the redesigned factory.

A software program currently under development at IPH will even support an automated creation of several different factory layouts. Machines, storage areas and pathways in the new hall are arranged by an algorithm in an optimal layout. Another software program, which already exists at IPH, is able to compare the different layouts. The definition of user-specific evaluation criteria allows the user to figure out fast and objectively which variant is best.

IPH will showcase the digital factory planning approach at three stations on the occasion of this year's Hannover Messe. At station 1, the researchers will explain the UAV and its function principle by means of a brief video clip. At station 2, visitors will be able to relocate on their own single objects in the factory hall at the digital planning table which finally analyses the efficiency of the changes made. At station 3, the result will then be visualised: With a VR goggle, visitors can go on a virtual factory tour to get an impression of whether the redesign is feasible or not.

At Hannover Messe taking place from 23 to 27 April 2018, the researchers will present their new development to the general public. The Lower Saxony Pavilion in Hall 2, Stand A08, will host the three stations factory analysis, factory planning and factory evaluation. Interested companies and journalists may apply for free tickets under www.hannovermesse.de/ticketregistrierung?w88bd

Please address your email requests to Judith Kebbe (kebbe@iph-hannover.de).

Further information on specific research projects are given under:

Photos in this press release

Factory planning table
Simple relocation of elements with the digital factory planning table.

(Source: IPH)

UAV
Accident-free flight of UAVs across the factory hall by means of sensors.

(Source: IPH)

UAV with 3D-cam
Ready for take-off: UAV scans entire production area by means of a 3D camera.

(Source: IPH)

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