Press release - May 20, 2022
CONTACT Software researches biologically transformed production processes
Global challenges such as resource scarcity and climate change demand a mindset shift in the industry. As a partner in the BioFusion 4.0 project, CONTACT Software researches how biological principles can be utilized to establish a more sustainable industrial production.
The research project BioFusion 4.0 brings together partners from industry and science to explore how principles from nature can be transferred to industry 4.0. The so-called biological transformation aims to enable resource- and climate-friendly products and production processes. Under the leadership of the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology (IPK), several solutions for various use cases will be developed and tested until 2024.
Biological transformation is based on the concepts of inspiration, integration, and interaction. Inspiration refers to the development of new products or product properties based on models from nature. Typical examples are the lotus effect or lightweight structures. Biological integration incorporates natural processes into production processes, for example by replacing chemical methods with microorganisms. Biologically transformed interaction draws inspiration from models such as ant algorithms. It ensures stable communication between people and machines through constant adaptation.
A promising approach of the project is the smart recycling of valuable materials in order to process them into raw materials for additive manufacturing. Human-centered assistance systems for workers lead to more ergonomic production processes, while biogenic and biodegradable polymers open up new application fields for plastics. BioFusion 4.0 focuses on applications for mechanical and plant engineering, waste disposal, energy generation, drive technology, electromobility, and vehicle construction.
Trials at the Werner-von-Siemens Centre for Industry and Science (WvSC), the Mercedes-Benz Plant Berlin, and other project partners show what a successful practical implementation might look like. For example, the developed applications are put to the test in the assembly of power control units for battery electric vehicles. The consortium partners will set up a technology demonstrator to illustrate and quantify the benefits of the research results.
The CONTACT Elements for IoT platform records the CO2 emissions along all logistics and production steps in the digital twin of the production line. This way, upcoming legislative obligations can be fulfilled. Additionally, optimization potential is revealed by comparing the actual and the expected emissions.
"With this ambitious project, we want to shape an industry 4.0 that is devoted to people and protects our livelihoods," says Dr.-Ing. Thomas Damerau, who is overseeing the project as a PLM analyst at CONTACT Software. CONTACT uses the project results to develop industry solutions that enable companies to operate in a more resource- and climate-friendly way.
BioFusion 4.0 involves nine industry partners as well as two research and two associated partners. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework concept "Research for Tomorrow’s Production". The project management agency is the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Production and Manufacturing Technologies Division (PTKA-PFT).