Demonstrator world

© Photo Ludmilla Parsyak, Fraunhofer IAO

Demonstrators showcase production work in the future

What technologies and applications do we already have at our disposal and how might humans and machines collaborate in the future?

The plan is to display the whole range of future work scenarios in three showcases. Here you can experience the future of work for yourself and identify opportunities for your company.

At the same time, you can get in contact with potential partners and benefit from their expertise.

Here is an overview of all the demonstrators currently in our Future Work Lab as well as the relevant contacts:

  • Collaboration with large-scale robot

    Kollaboration mit dem Großroboter
    © Photo Rainer Bez, Fraunhofer IPA

    Description

    • How can people and robots work together in confined spaces while taking into account aspects of safety, ergonomics and a dynamic division of labor?
    • The demonstrator showcases a subprocess in the manufacture of a flow sensor, with the robot helping the worker to handle and position components.
    • By employing optically non-intrusive protective devices and a heavy-duty robot, innovative and versatile manufacturing scenarios become possible.

    Impact on work

    • Robot allows for ergonomic and personalized working
    • Increased worker responsibility in terms of workplace safety
    • Simplification of tasks

    Value and benefit

    • Increased ergonomics in handling and welding processes
    • Joint human-robot monitoring of work output for improved quality
    • Space and cost savings thanks to shared work space

    Contact

    Thomas Dietz
    Phone +49 711 970-1152
    thomas.dietz@ipa.fraunhofer.de

    Simple robot programming

    © Photo Fraunhofer IPA

    Description

    • Simple and intuitive drag-and-drop implementation and reconfiguration of existing robot applications
    • Easy-to-understand graphical user interface for robot programming
    • Any user can create, edit and execute their own robot program within minutes – even if they have no programming experience

    Impact on work

    • Workers free to organize work as they wish thanks to automation
    • Personalization of work tools
    • Planning work processes is simplified thanks to databases of existing capabilities

    Value and benefit

    • More responsibility for workers as they assume responsibility for interacting with machines and implementing programs
    • Independent implementation of new applications without need to procure outside services (system integrators)
    • Faster, simpler troubleshooting and debugging

    Contact

    Manuel Fechter
    Phone +49 711 970-1352
    manuel.fechter@ipa.fraunhofer.de

  • Mobile workstation

    © Photo Ludmilla Parsyak, Fraunhofer IAO

    Description

    • Flexible system approaches and assembly layouts in line with volatility-based variations in capacity
    • Personalization of work space through adjustment of lighting, table height and information to suit the individual employee and work situation
    • Work tables, tools and materials are transported directly to the employee via mobile robot
    • A mobile robot can either navigate the room itself, avoiding any obstacles, or be controlled by the employee via a handheld device

    Impact on work

    • Increased human-machine interaction at work
    • More stringent requirements with respect to use of high-tech, mobile robots
    • Personalization of the workplace through the exchange of personal data

    Value and benefit

    • Improved interior mobility with respect to production layout
    • Guarantee of materials on hand even for highly variable production
    • Personalized work spaces improve ergonomics, process efficiency and workplace well-being

    Contact

    Bastian Pokorni
    Phone +49 711 970-2071
    bastian.pokorni@iao.fraunhofer.de

    Personalized assembly workstation

    © Photo Ludmilla Parsyak, Fraunhofer IAO

    Description

    • Employees benefit from active assistance during complex assembly processes
    • Fast and intuitive employee orientation for different production environments
    • Digital guidance helps operator thanks to reduced complexity in handling process-relevant information
    • In-process quality assurance via direct reporting of errors – in material containers, for example

    Impact on work

    • Use of new digital work tools and aids
    • Personalization of direct work environment
    • Paperless operator guidance and preventive error checking per the poka-yoke principle
    • Active feedback for workers within the work process

    Value and benefit

    • Optimized supplying of workers with necessary information to reduce time spent searching for information
    • Proactive avoidance of assembly errors for improved quality
    • Greater flexibility allows staff to use different workstations

    Contact

    Bastian Pokorni
    Phone +49 711 970-2071
    bastian.pokorni@iao.fraunhofer.de

    Training using learning videos

    © Photo Ludmilla Parsyak, Fraunhofer IAO

    Description

    • Use of moving images to guide operators regarding complex and difficult work steps
    • Repeatable training or learn-quick units in the form of image clips (nuggets of knowledge)
    • Learning on demand for a range of process-relevant topics
    • Self-directed employee instruction thanks to personalized learning modules
    • Transparent knowledge assessment for employees and managers

    Impact on work

    • Work-based learning
    • Digital learning as an additional tool in the training process
    • Personalized employee training

    Value and benefit

    • Workers can build on their knowledge in spare moments
    • Decentralized and self-directed employee learning
    • Improved motivation thanks to self-guided learning
    • Transparent overview of knowledge within the company

    Contact

    Maik Berthold
    Phone +49 711 970-2208
    maik.berthold@iao.fraunhofer.de

    Real-time data visualization

    © Photo Bosch Rexroth

    Description

    • Visualization of current production data and key indicators at source
    • Simplified monitoring of cross-shift events
    • Task-specific collation of information from various IT systems
    • Enhanced decision-making thanks to up-to-date and transparent information

    Impact on work

    • Transparent and nearly real-time information relating to production performance for all employees
    • Improved information quality for leadership of (groups of) employees on the shop floor
    • Interaction using mobile devices

    Value and benefit

    • Simplified preparation of key-indicator overviews
    • Faster modifications to production system triggered by disruptions on the shop floor
    • Reduction of wrong decisions

    Contact

    Maik Berthold
    Phone +49 711 970-2208
    maik.berthold@iao.fraunhofer.de

  • Sense & Act retrofit

    © Photo Fraunhofer IPA

    Description

    • Workers tailor their work environment independently to suit their needs
    • Direct implementation of bottom-up process optimization, including on existing machines
    • Quick familiarization: Graphical modeling of process modifications using if-then rules

    Impact on work

    • Shop-floor workers take on responsibility for simple automation tasks
    • Process optimization undertaken by employees encourages taking responsibility
    • Modification undertaken by employees calls for a certain level of digital expertise

    Value and benefit

    • Personalizable process improvements lead to increased employee satisfaction and improved process efficiency
    • Bottom-up process innovations are transparent and can be rolled out across the company

    Contact

    Peter Einberger
    Phone +49 711 970-1359
    peter.einberger@ipa.fraunhofer.de

    Mobile operation of multiple machines

    © Photo Ludmilla Parsyak, Fraunhofer IAO

    Description

    • Providing machine data to operators in real time and exchanging data via mobile devices such as smart watches allows mobile workers to communicate with one another
    • Real-time production information is used to modify and optimize production processes

    Impact on work

    • Simplified worker collaboration: information can be variably distributed to specific employees
    • Workers, planners and foremen can consult and undertake automation themselves, as well as react flexibly

    Value and benefit

    • Better opportunities for employees to help shape processes and simpler implementation of their input
    • Boosted efficiency and reduced costs, since errors are identified more quickly and there is less waiting time for machines and/or workers

    Contact

    Michael Reutter (aucobo GmbH)
    Phone +49 173 866 7241
    michael.reutter@aucobo.de

  • Active accident prevention

    © Photo Fraunhofer IPA

    Description

    • Reduction of workplace accidents involving motor-driven mobile and stationary machines as well as danger zones
    • Human-detection solution and automated identification of dangerous situations
    • Implemented using mobile and stationary sensors that safely monitor and analyze worker movements (radar, wireless and movement sensors)
    • Acceptance assured by ergonomic sensor integration

    Impact on work

    • Integration of danger-detection system into emergency-off mechanisms for potentially dangerous facilities and machines
    • Equipping of workers and work environments
    • Qualification of management personnel in the use of sensor-based danger-detection systems

    Value and benefit

    • Significant reduction in fatal and non-fatal work accidents
    • Safe work environment
    • Implementation of innovative human-technology collaborations

    Contact

    Bernhard Kleiner
    Phone +49 711 970-3718
    bernhard.kleiner@ipa.fraunhofer.de

    Scene analysis for detecting accidents

    © Photo Fraunhofer IPA

    Description

    • Immediate identification of accidents and emergency situations in workspaces with low numbers of personnel
    • People tracking using optical sensors
    • Automatic identification of abnormal postures that indicate an emergency (a person lying or curled on the floor) and notification of first-aid specialist via a tiered alarm system

    Impact on work

    • Immediate identification of accidents in remote, hazardous work areas
    • Increased feeling of safety thanks to prompt notification of first-aid specialist or other employees
    • No need to activate a “dead man’s switch” or to wear sensors

    Value and benefit

    • Improved workplace safety for employees
    • Fewer long-term consequences of accidents thanks to reduction in time between the accident and accident detection
    • Easily integrated into existing environments

    Contact

    Dr. Julia Denecke
    Phone +49 711 970-1829
    julia.denecke@ipa.fraunhofer.de

  • Live visualization of strain

    © Photo Fraunhofer IPA

    Description

    • Intuitive visualization of ergonomic movement patterns
    • For training purposes: a suit that employs inertial sensors can track how a worker moves while performing typical tasks
    • Special software visualizes unfavorable movements

    Impact on work

    • Support for workers to optimize their ergonomic efficiency
    • Possibility to develop ergonomically more efficient movement patterns and save them as a training template
    • External ergonomics experts can be consulted anonymously

    Value and benefit

    • Increased awareness of ergonomic movements
    • Creation of efficient template movements for training new employees
    • Support for workers to independently monitor their own movements

    Contact

    Urban Daub
    Phone +49 711 970-3645
    urban.daub@ipa.fraunhofer.de

    Stuttgart Exo-Jacket

    © Photo Ludmilla Parsyak, Fraunhofer IPA

    Description

    • Exoskeleton to assist employees with heavy lifting and overhead work
    • Live demonstration of the actively powered exoskeleton, including a real-time display of motor performance
    • Exoskeleton mirrors arm movements and provides support; additional load is directed to the hips or into the ground

    Impact on work

    • Ergonomic assistance for assembly, logistics and production work
    • Workplace made more attractive to workers as the exoskeleton reduces strain
    • Workers tire less quickly, allowing them to be productive for longer

    Value and benefit

    • Reduced physical strain, helping to avoid work-related injuries
    • Possibility for people to work safely long term in the future against the backdrop of an aging population

    Contact

    Amir Ebrahimi
    Phone +49 711 970-3711
    amir.ebrahimi@ipa.fraunhofer.de

  • Digital Industrial Engineering @Shopfloor Level

    © Photo Microsoft

    Description

    • New mixed-reality technologies make it easier to work with virtual machines and components
    • Intuitive interface between the real and digital worlds: work undertaken via natural interaction methods such as sight, gesture and language
    • Wide-ranging application in planning, design, training and support
    • Technology: Microsoft HoloLens

    Impact on work

    • On-site planning, design and consultation without using real components or machines
    • Visualization of abstract problems allows employees from outside of the process to take on new tasks and contribute their expertise into new areas such as planning
    • Focus on complex specialist matters

    Value and benefit

    • Possibility of dispensing with expensive prototypes and single-unit production
    • Simplification of cross-disciplinary communication on technical requirements
    • Chance to identify planning errors early on

    Contact

    Florian Strieg
    Phone +49 711 970-1777
    florian.strieg@ipa.fraunhofer.de

  • Tailored training in the learning environment

    © Photo Ludmilla Parsyak, Fraunhofer IAO

    Our learning environment offers a range of “Expertise 4.0” training, consultancy and qualification opportunities. For a guide to all seminars, workshops and training offerings for managers, experts and production workers, please see »Learning environment«.

    Kontakt

    Bernd Dworschak
    Phone +49 711 970-2042
    bernd.dworschak@iao.fraunhofer.de

  • Extended work desk

    © Photo Kai Effinger, Fraunhofer IAO

    Description

    • State-of-the-art display and interaction technology is used to implement an intuitive digital work environment fit for the digital age
    • A digital work environment shaped by user and process requirements
    • A better handle on the increasing complexity and changes regarding tasks throughout product development

    Impact on work

    • A move away from the limitations of monitor, keyboard and mouse through the Virtual Desktop One (VD1) user interface
    • Users can visualize their mental image of a work process using the digital interface
    • Target group: Design engineers, planners and knowledge workers

    Value and benefit

    • Focused, uninterrupted working
    • Better handling of increasingly complex tasks
    • Appealing workplace for highly qualified employees

    Contact

    Dr. Matthias Bues
    Phone +49 711 970-2232
    matthias.bues@iao.fraunhofer.de

    Wireless workstation

    © Photo Kai Effinger, Fraunhofer IAO

    Description

    • State-of-the-art wireless and induction technology provides users with a wireless and easy-to-operate digital work environment
    • Users conveniently place their laptop, tablet or, in the future, smartphone on the work station, giving them access to the entire infrastructure including monitor
    • The workstation and all of its peripherals can be flexibly used by a variety of people without the need for users to plug in their own devices

    Impact on work

    • Flexible transition from one work situation to another, since it requires only the user’s personal end device – all other infrastructure already being at their disposal
    • No need for additional login processes in the workplace, since it is the user’s personal device that is connected

    Value and benefit

    • Wireless supply of electricity and data, which does away with adapters, power-supply units and other peripherals
    • Employees can use a range of workstations in the course of the day: in the office, in the lab, in the production hall
    • Spontaneous, personalized configuration

    Contact

    Udo-Ernst Haner
    Phone +49 711 970-5470
    udo-ernst.haner@iao.fraunhofer.de

    KPI dashboard for foremen

    © Photo Ludmilla Parsyak, Fraunhofer IAO

    Description

    • Employees use a dynamic cockpit with integrated digital tools and personalized information retrieval via mobile device
    • Cockpit improves situational awareness and helps the employee make the appropriate decision by supplying relevant and context-specific information in real time
    • Direct process-oriented performance feedback for employees
    • Simple integration of further functions

    Impact on work

    • Digital and mobile form of information support for employees
    • Involvement of employees and encouragement to take on responsibility thanks to increased self-monitoring and problem solving
    • Employees can draw on multiple smart assistants in a single view

    Value and benefit

    • Improved situational awareness and transparency for employees in real time
    • Rapid reaction to problems or disruptions
    • Boosted motivation thanks to rapid performance feedback
    • Sense of satisfaction due to personal development and a sense of doing meaningful work

    Contact

    Erdem Gelec
    Phone +49 711 970-2055
    erdem.gelec@iao.fraunhofer.de

    Schichtplanung per App

    © Photo Bernd Müller, Fraunhofer IAO

    Description

    • Companies or employees organize their working hours flexibly using social media and mobile devices
    • Planners use their master cockpit to create any deployment requests and send these on to employees
    • Employees confer and collaborate to decide who takes on the work
    • Possibility of rapid notification via app, making shifts reliable in planning and fair for workers

    Impact on work

    • Digital and mobile form of work organization
    • Workers collaborate to decide on who is going to take on work using smartphones
    • Foremen use smart assistants for staff planning

    Value and benefit

    • Transparency in allocation of work and workload
    • Reduced workload with respect to staff planning
    • Rapid response in the event of fluctuating requirements

    Contact

    Dr. Moritz Hämmerle
    Phone +49 711 970-2284
    moritz.haemmerle@iao.fraunhofer.de

The planned showcases

Today+

This showcase displays the current state of industry work in modern, industrialized small and medium-sized businesses.

2025+ human focus

In this showcase, we demonstrate how industry work might look in the future if people are prioritized.

2025+ technology focus

This showcase demonstrates how industry work might be managed in the future if technology assumes the dominant role.