Consultancy services

© Photo Bernd Müller, Fraunhofer IAO

Consultancy services

Here you will find details of our consultancy services with detailed information and contacts.

  • Production assessment 4.0

    The consultancy product for a connected and digital future

    Virtual, flexible, digitally connected. 365 days a year, 24/7. Smart, intelligent and autonomous. That is the production of the future! That is Industrie 4.0! As pioneers for innovative technologies and rapid processes, the demands of today’s production systems are greater than ever. Companies must grasp the enormous potential and opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution, as well as the complex needs of the market, if they are to optimize existing processes and meet their customers’ needs with confidence.

    What is production assessment 4.0?

    Production assessment 4.0 is a consultancy product that draws on a comprehensive analysis of information flow and the expanded value stream to identify your company’s level of maturity with respect to lean management and Industrie 4.0. Based on this, we work with you to identify specific recommendations for action in the form of applications and user stories for a connected and digital future. Our maturity assessment helps us to work out the extent to which you have already implemented lean management methods within your company and the points at which the effectiveness and efficiency of your value creation stream could be boosted through Industrie 4.0. The maturity assessment model is embedded in a comprehensive and lean assessment approach in order to systematically gather and analyze the information needed to identify the maturity level. It incorporates visions regarding Industrie 4.0 and yields realistic and personalized development goals.

    Production assessment 4.0 process

    Phase 1: Pathfinding workshop with information flow and value stream analysis

    The first workshop is an opportunity to define the assessment’s strategic framework. Following a kick-off meeting, the situation analysis is carried out with the help of various workshops and a production tour. At this stage, the focus is not just on production processes, but on the entire value creation chain from customer to customer. It ends with the determination of maturity levels regarding lean management and Industrie 4.0.

    Phase 2: Outlining of initial Industrie 4.0 potential

    In the next phase, we evaluate the situational analysis in detail in order to fix specific fields of action. We then use these to jointly come up with potential Industrie 4.0 applications in the course of further workshops. This allows us to ensure that the fields of action are approached in line with the user’s needs. Applications are then evaluated and prioritized in an initial assessment.

    Phase 3: Detailed Industrie 4.0 applications and detailed evaluation

    The applications determined in phase 2 are now fleshed out in detail in the form of user stories, and we define the necessary conditions for their implementation. A detailed evaluation examines each individual user story for impact and quantitative and qualitative benefit, before ranking them within the overall context.

    Phase 4: Implementation plan

    To conclude, we define the target value stream, an implementation roadmap and a potential migration path. We also identify and plan the necessary organizational and process modifications. If desired, we will assist you in choosing a company to help you achieve your vision and will support you as you implement the defined roadmap.

    Benefits for you

    • Introduction to the topic of Industrie 4.0 and awareness throughout the organization at all levels
    • Development of a company-specific Industrie 4.0 vision
    • Transparent assessment of lean management and Industrie 4.0 maturity levels, and highlighting of productivity potential
    • Mapping of current situation with regard to information and data flows
      • Information flows across production processes (including setup processes, disruption processes, etc.)
      • Information flows at interfaces, e.g. work preparation and production (horizontal information flows)
      • Information requirements of actors within these processes
      • Identification of media disruptions and information speed/quality
    • Transparent presentation of evaluated optimization potential and identification of specific fields of action

    Contact

    Bastian Pokorni

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

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

  • Safety for robot systems

    © Photo Fraunhofer IPA

    The challenges of complex robot systems

    Robot safety is an increasingly complex issue:

    • Decentralized controls increase the complexity of the overall system
    • Non-intrusive protective devices allow for barrier-free access or situational adjustments regarding protected areas
    • Electronic, programmable control units with safety functions call for particularly careful software development and compliance with defined processes
    • Direct cooperation between people and robots results in additional requirements with respect to personal safety

    Legislation and standardization present new opportunities

    Applying the involved standards of robot safety places great demands on companies that offer robot systems, be it in the shaping of business processes, product development or quality management. For those who can master these standards, however, there is also the chance to really stand apart in the marketplace. Here, you can draw on our experience: Fraunhofer IPA has been actively involved in the work of the standardization body for robot safety for many years now, and is always up to date on the latest developments.

    Our services

    Fraunhofer IPA supports you in all phases of system development, in the assessment of system safety and in the implementation of the necessary processes.

    • Risk analysis:
      In a one-day or multi-day workshop, we work with experts from your company to prepare a risk assessment for one of your systems.
    • Safety concepts:
      We will develop a safety concept for you. The goal here is to create and define the technology for a sustainable safety concept that ensures the highest possible productivity and easy operability at a low cost.
    • Consultancy:
      Are you experiencing specific problems with system safety? Do you need an expert opinion, recommendations for how to proceed or technical solutions? Why not just make use of our day-to-day consulting service, in which a Fraunhofer IPA expert provides you with fresh input to solve your system safety issues.
    • Support for CE marking:
      We create the necessary documentation together with your company’s technical experts.

    Benefits to you

    • You adapt your robot systems, quickly and cost-effectively, to reflect the latest modified safety standards, as well as efficiently implement the necessary documentation processes within your company
    • Find new solutions to your safety questions and profit from safety, productivity and cost benefit
    • Profit from Fraunhofer IPA’s expertise and take advantage of the opportunities presented by the new safety standards!

    Contact

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

    Dominik Keusch
    Phone +49 711 970-1357
    dominik.keusch@ipa.fraunhofer.de

  • Industrie 4.0 business navigator – Your path to the implementation of digital technologies

    © Photo Rainer Bez, Fraunhofer IAO

    Industrie 4.0 – Tapping new potential

    Today we stand at the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution. So far, only a few companies have gained wide-ranging experience with the manufacturing-related applications of Industrie 4.0. Even fewer offer ready-made solutions. In the long term, however, experts expect digitalization to yield an efficiency boost of 30 to 50 percent when averaged across all of a company’s departments. Offering digital value-added services connected to one’s own product is becoming more and more popular – to build new business models, attract new customer groups or generate new sources of income within an existing customer base.

    Harness the digital potential for your company

    Our “Industrie 4.0 business navigator” allows you to harness the potential of digitalization. We work with you on site to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your company. The goal is to uncover potential that could be exploited with the help of Industrie 4.0 technologies. Potential applications are evaluated with respect to the cost, time and expertise involved, and the investment balanced against the expected gain. This allows us to develop tailored recommendations for action, which you can use to implement a durable strategy for the digitalization of your company.

    Our “Industrie 4.0 business navigator” consultancy product

    In order to develop the best possible recommendations for action, we begin with a review of existing production and IT systems within your company.

    Phase 1: Readiness check
    Which technologies do you use in production and in your products? This question has a decisive influence on the approach to implementing new applications. The result of this assessment serves as a benchmark for your company.

    Phase 2: Analysis of potential
    Where can you access potential in your production process and in your products? Our experts visit you on site to come up with a list of potential Industrie 4.0 applications.

    Developing your personal optimization strategy

    Based on the starting situation and assessment of potential, we then evaluate the potential Industrie 4.0 applications.

    Phase 3: Roadmap
    Which applications should be implemented first in order to achieve quick results or achieve optimal strategic alignment? This decision has to do not only with the optimization potential, but is also significantly influenced by your company’s starting situation and overarching business goals. In this final phase, we develop your personal roadmap, which serves as a recommendation for action in implementing the Industrie 4.0 applications that hold the most promise for your business.

    Benefits to you

    • You benefit from a personal assessment of your company’s technological strengths and weaknesses with regard to Industrie 4.0.
    • A neutral benchmark of your production and products
    • On-site analysis to uncover optimization potential within your company
    • Specific Industrie 4.0 applications for your company
    • Identification of “quick wins”
    • A roadmap for implementing the Industrie 4.0 applications that hold the most promise for your business

    Contact

    Bumin Hatiboglu
    Phone +49 711 970-1642
    bumin.hatiboglu@ipa.fraunhofer.de

    Andreas Bildstein
    Phone +49 711 970-1255
    andreas.bildstein@ipa.fraunhofer.de

  • Quality 4.0 for additive manufacturing – Your guide to qualifying additively manufactured components

    Product quality challenges

    Whether it is product development, design, production or business modeling, additive manufacturing techniques open up whole new creative approaches. However, they also place new demands on the manufacturing process itself. If additive manufacturing is to firmly establish itself in the industry of the future, reliable product quality is an absolute necessity. There is a need to adhere to geometric tolerances as well as to certify products according to exact, quantifiable, physical parameters. Component quality must be sustained and reproducible at all times.

    Are you in control of the quality of your product?

    It remains difficult to reliably guarantee the quality of additively manufactured components. To date, additive manufacturing has had no quality standards; a generally accepted quality management system likewise does not exist. With regard to the additive process chain, there are five aspects essential to quality management: the production system, the material, the manufacturing process, the product and the final product processing. It is still a challenge to identify, control or influence the parameters influencing quality. There is an urgent need for a systematic approach, planning and qualification procedure.

    The modules of our consultancy product

    Our consultancy is designed to provide you with the basic know-how you need to develop a smart inline quality module for additive manufacturing. This quality module encompasses the following:

    • A process to identify inline defects and errors
    • Error weighting for inline quality control
    • An action plan or basic design for inline quality control, including an acceptance certificate for components

    Phase 1: Identifying inline defects and errors

    In the first phase, we analyze your manufacturing processes using a deductive technique that has been combined with a qualitative top-down error tree analysis. This identifies inline effects, defects and errors, allowing for the definition of parameters and specification of tasks – for future inline quality control and in-situ process optimization and regulation. We also present a ranking technique for weighting effects, defects and errors.

    Phase 2: Action plan for inline quality control

    The subsidiary objectives of the action plan are as follows:

    • A modular hardware platform or technologies and sensors for data collection
    • A modular software platform for image capture and error detection using Industrial Image Processing (IIP) software engine algorithms
    • Logging of the product manufacturing process to act as the basis for identifying self-modifying production parameters

    Benefits for you

    • Improved quality of your end product
    • Greater reproducibility
    • Shorter lead times
    • Lower per-piece costs
    • Greater process functionality, reliability and economy in production
    • Support for future identification of self-modifying production parameters
    • Support for qualification of additively manufactured components
    • Personalized products and complex mass-produced products – from a batch size of 1
    • Quality 4.0 to make your additive manufacturing operation ready for Industrie 4.0

    Contact

    Simina Fulga
    Phone +49 711 970-1856
    simina.fulga@ipa.fraunhofer.de

    Ira Effenberger
    Phone +49 711 970-1853
    ira.effenberger@ipa.fraunhofer.de

  • Smart Blueprint 4.0 for Work 4.0 – Planning and preparing human behavior as they interact with smart technology

    A virtual collaboration scenario for Industry 4.0 work processes

    The challenge of Industry 4.0: Managing complex systems

    As we connect machines using smart information technology, production management becomes more and more flexible. By using new data – from sensors and actuators, for instance – management software can provide an even more precise picture of a production system’s status. Predictive maintenance is just one example, and more and more activities can now be automated. As systems become intelligent, there is a necessary shift in the allocation of labor among humans and machines. Machines are gradually taking on management tasks traditionally completed by humans. And employees are faced with a fundamental shift in the tasks they are expected to complete.

    Are your employees ready for smart production?

    For manufacturing companies, the road to Industry 4.0 is full of challenges and fraught with risk. Experience in the management of smart and connected systems is a must. Strategies to protect oneself against system disruption require comprehensive expertise. Smart factories offer highly flexible production, but rely on the implementation of standardized process modules to enable processing. Humans and smart machines must collaborate to master the process, and that calls for systematic planning and qualification. “Smart Blueprint 4.0” is a planning aid we have developed to help you in this task.

    Smart Blueprint 4.0: The steps

    Step 1: Modeling current work processes

    The first step is to pick out key work processes affected by digitalization. We then model the current status of these processes – considering the human, production technology and smart software aspects – in a way that is accessible to all.

    Step 2: Developing PLAN scenarios

    The second step focuses on developing PLAN scenarios that outline the future division of labor between humans and smart machines, with the goal of:

    • Establishing standardized human-machine processes for flexible manufacturing operations.
    • Ensuring that employees are in full control of their tasks and systems.
    • Shortening the time required to set up and reconfigure production processes.

    Step 3: Testing system mastery in a virtual environment

    In the third step, PLAN work processes are implemented in the virtual environment using interactive avatars. Other possibilities include

    • A cinematic presentation in video form.
    • Planning games: discover and shape new work processes for yourself using avatars.
    • Professional actors recreate the behavior of key target groups in the company in a company theater performance.

    The benefit to you

    • A targeted way to develop the expertise to master smart production
    • Unified strategies for interdisciplinary teams
    • Faster reconfiguration of flexible production
    • Elimination of acceptance issues in implementing new work processes
    • Support in training and change management for Industry 4.0

    Contact

    David Kremer
    Phone +49 711 970-2223
    david.kremer@iao.fraunhofer.de

    Sibylle Hermann
    Phone +49 711 970-2020
    sibylle.hermann@iao.fraunhofer.de

  • Virtual collaboration as part of Work 4.0 – Virtual working and learning

    © Photo vitero GmbH

    Creative exchange in the technical field

    It is not just communication technologies that are advancing in the course of Industrie 4.0. We also have more and more contact with increasingly diverse communication partners. Agile project management and flexible working are transforming the nature, duration and frequency of meetings.

    What remains the same in spite of all the changes, however, is the need for reliable communication in a protected environment. As technology continues to develop, it will become all the more valuable to have communication that appeals to the emotions and encourages creative exchange.

    Flexible and mobile communication in the virtual sphere

    Spontaneous online meetings designed to solve a problem quickly and creatively will become more and more established as a form of communication. As work processes become more complex and more abstract, visualization techniques and collaborative solutions will continue to gain in importance. The latest technology allows for increasingly efficient conversation and moderation in the virtual sphere. In order to use this effectively, however, one needs familiarity with the techniques involved and regular practice.

    Virtual communication training in the “Virtual Team Room”

    “Virtual Collaboration 4.0 – Training in vitero” is our virtual training package and offers:

    • Intuitive, realistic moderation
    • Support for a range of meeting formats – for instance, short project meetings, expert hotlines or workshops
    • Guidance on the development of company-specific use scenarios within Industrie 4.0

    Module 1: The technical options for your virtual meeting

    Learning objectives:

    • Overview of the technical functions involved in virtual communication and virtual moderation
    • Selection and adaptation of suitable meeting formats

    Module 2: Special design elements in the virtual space

    Learning objectives:

    • Visualization of complex and abstract issues or technical problems with the aid of appropriate technical functions
    • Setting up interactive and structured virtual meetings in the context of Industrie 4.0: Development of use scenarios, creation of scripts and communication plans

    Module 3: Transfer to individual work context

    Learning objectives:

    • Analysis of the meeting culture in your own company
    • Successful rollout of new communication formats

    Benefits for you

    • Your employees receive training in virtual moderation and meetings
    • Encouragement of a participative, solution-oriented communication culture
    • Support for interdepartmental collaboration – within the company and throughout the value chain
    • Rapid access to expert networks helps you solve problems quickly

    Contact

    Karin Hamann
    Phone +49 711 970-2178
    karin.hamann@iao.fraunhofer.de

    Helmut Zaiser
    Phone +49 711 970-2027
    helmut.zaiser@iao.fraunhofer.de

  • Skills development for the future workplace

    Production work is changing

    Industrial production is undergoing rapid technological development. The real and virtual worlds are combining to form the Internet of Things and Services: Industrie 4.0. It is now assumed that the role of people in industrial production will change significantly as a result of cyber-physical systems (CPS) – much as the internet transformed communication. With the introduction of cyberphysical production systems that are closely connected with each other and with the internet, we can expect long-term increases in the productivity and flexibility of manufacturing companies.

    Impact on development of skills

    Industrie 4.0 is more than a technical topic, as it also affects the skills that employees need. It involves systems in which decision making is shared among humans and machines, with one influencing the other and vice versa. It is a fundamental alteration to the human-machine interface, and how this is managed has significant implications – not least for the skills required of us in the future. That is why special skills development initiatives are so important.

    “Skills development for the future workplace Industrie 4.0”

    In light of the fundamental technological transformations in information, production and communications technologies, any forward-looking personnel policy must be quick to identify future skills requirements and any potential skills shortages.

    • Skills development for the future workplace Industrie 4.0 is all about grasping the future organizational and individual skills requirements of production work early on. To this end, the first step is to work up technological and organizational development scenarios at the operational level
    • This is then used to answer the following questions: What changes to workplace requirements do we observe? What new jobs arise? Which professional skills assume particular relevance? What skills profiles and skills gaps are we presented with?
    • In the final phase, we develop an approach that allows for the implementation of technical and organizational requirements hand in hand with work-oriented skills development within the company. Our service is suitable for SMEs, can respond quickly to changes as they arise and is understandable and manageable for production executives

    Benefits for you

    • Alternative development paths for your company on the road to Industrie 4.0 are presented in a tangible way
    • Visualization of the impact of various development options or already implemented technologies on the skills and personnel development of your company
    • Benefit from the expertise of specialists: Changes are better integrated into the company with the help of personnel and organizational developers as well as professional trainers and coaches
    • Involving employees and employee representatives will improve acceptance of the move towards Industrie 4.0 within your company, and you will benefit from a more engaged workforce

    Contact

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

    Helmut Zaiser
    Phone +49 711 970-2027
    helmut.zaiser@iao.fraunhofer.de