The Self-Organizing PROduction (SOPRO) program is the result of a German government-funded initiative to develop a factory of the future in which production processes are more flexible, efficient and environmentally-friendly.
The special show at productronica will demonstrate SOPRO technology using simulated processing stations. For example, a process machine that is at capacity or malfunctioning can inform conveyors and workpieces to use an alternative process. Workers can move the parts to another machine for processing, and the parts themselves report what work has to be performed on them. In this way, decisions to ensure a smooth production process can be made in fractions of a second, reducing time and cost.
SOPRO has the potential to revolutionize the goods manufacturing process, and organizers expect the special show to be a highlight of productronica 2009. The show will be conducted by SOPRO partners on stand B3.265 in Hall B3 from November 10 to 13, 2009.
e-grains control the intelligent factory
Machines and workpieces communicate, evaluate and allocate their work automatically by means of a chip, called an e-grain. Process e-grains are small electronic cells which communicate and learn from one another. During the productronica Innovation Forum, SOPRO experts will describe in detail the idea of self-organizing production based on the potential of e-grain technology and its potential application areas in production engineering.
A consortium of Fraunhofer Institutes and the Technical University of Berlin led by the Fraunhofer-Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology (IPK) developed the process e-grains, the key element in the SOPRO project. The Productronic and Micro Technology Associations as well as the working group Modular Microsystems within the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) coordinate the cooperation of industry and research institutes.
Knowledge transfer between science and industry
"As a trend-setting event for the industry, productronica 2009 is the ideal platform for providing deeper insights into a technology which will sustainably change Germany as a production location", says Eckhard Hohwieler from the Fraunhofer-Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology (IPK), scientific coordinator of the SOPRO Project. "As a scientist, I greatly appreciate the practical transfer of knowledge between research institutes and industry. This knowledge transfer is also a decisive factor in the development of self-organizing production since it turns theory into practice."
Dr. Eric Maiser from the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) emphasizes: "SOPRO has the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing industry. Already today, continuous miniaturization, especially in the field of microelectronics, requires automatic production processes in order to make products affordable for all. Now, SOPRO links individual automatic processes, which helps to avoid fabrication defects at an early stage. In addition to economic aspects, more efficient processes create ecological advantages since production can be carried out using less energy and less resources. This is vital to all modern industries."
Furthermore, future logistics within and supplies delivered to the production plant could be made automatically. There will be greater demand for well-trained specialists for installing, planning and monitoring such factories. Thus, SOPRO means a step forward in the development of the electronics manufacturing industry, improving its position in the international market and securing jobs.
"Production 2.0" in around 20 years
The SOPRO Project started in March 2008 and will run until February 28, 2011. It will then lead into a joint program with industrial partners. The objective of the participants from industry and research – whose main areas of interest are microsystems technology, information technology and production engineering – is to create a totally intelligent factory. In their work, the project participants are primarily concentrating on methods for adapting and changing the stored information and tasks of the process e-grains (reconfigurability), robust radio communication in harsh environments and the formulation of module concepts so that radio sensor nodes can be inexpensively embedded in the production environment. The project also accounts for socioeconomic aspects. The development of self-organizing production is still in its infancy. According to experts, however, production plants could change fundamentally in 20 years thanks to e-grains.
You can find details here about the special show during productronica 2009.
SOPRO (Self-Organizing PROduction) is a project intended to revolutionize the manufacturing industry. The enabling technology are intelligent process "e-grains" which can deal autonomously with other parts of the production network independently of the central control system. Products and resources equipped with e-grains can regulate themselves using self-organization priciples.
SOPRO is a government-funded project of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) Microsystems Technology program. Research is carried out by a consortium of several Fraunhofer-Institutes and the Technical University of Berlin led by the Fraunhofer-Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology (IPK). The German Engineering Federation (VDMA), Micro Technology and Productronics and Modular Microsystems coordinate the industry reserch. The project management organization is the VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH, Berlin.
productronica is the leading world trade fair for innovative electronics production. It has taken place in Munich every two years since 1975 and is a core element of the electronics trade fair network of Munich International Trade Fair. This network includes the leading global trade fairs, electronica, and Productronica, held in Munich, as well as leading regional trade fairs in Brazil, Hong Kong, China, and India. With over 8,000 exhibitors and more than 280,000 visitors, the Munich International Trade Fair is one of the internationally leading trade fair organizer in this segment.
Further information: www.productronica.com.
Attendees may save time at the show by purchasing tickets online. Online registration allows attendees to avoid lines to enter the event and provides free access to Munich’s excellent public transportation system.
About Messe München International
Messe München International is one of the world’s leading trade-fair companies. It organises around 40 trade fairs for capital and consumer goods, and key high-tech industries. Each year over 30,000 exhibitors from more than 100 countries, and over two million visitors from more than 200 countries take part in the events in Munich. In addition, Messe München International organises trade fairs in Asia, Russia, the Middle East and South America. With six subsidiaries abroad – in Europe and in Asia – and with 66 foreign representatives serving 89 countries, the organizer has a truly global network.