there is No question that the Corona pandemic, the company provides in this country, as yet, unknown challenges. Many companies are forced as a result of sales slumps in a bid to curb their production or even to discontinue it. At the same time, some companies are overcoming the crisis but also with creative ideas, fashion-Labels provide respiratory protection masks, the distilleries produce a disinfectant instead of Gin and booth builders to develop, in the meantime, Perspex protection for walls for a cashier. The necessity is the mother of invention – and save some of the operation from Bankruptcy.

However, not all firms are in this country in their productions so quick to convert, and thus to benefit from the crisis, The lack of changeability of many of the production facilities plays a crucial role to fight which is why a lot of companies with the effects of COVID-19. Often the remodeling would be associated with long changeover times. During the conversion of the production lines have to be usually silent. Costs eat the company’s another hole in the wallet, can be stuffed in the worst case, not at all. About the author

Peter liggesmeyer is head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (IESE ) in Kaiserslautern, Germany and holds the chair for Software Engineering – Dependability at the Department of computer science at the TU Kaiserslautern. Among his research areas are Artificial intelligence, Autonomous systems, and industry 4.0, in addition to the focus topics, especially procedures for the comprehensive safety analysis for Smart Ecosystems.

However, as the conversion of the plants to succeed, Vice versa, quickly and cost-effectively? Remedy the convertible production, by the reaction capability of a factory significantly increases creates. As a result, the production of non-pre-planned products with only a low effort is possible. This means that companies are able to respond within limits to developments flexibly, at the time, as the production system was planned, not yet in sight.

The limits are of course set by the available machines and the use of raw materials. An important prerequisite is that the new product with the existing means at all is producible. Changeability means that the Plan for the production of a new product is not generated manually, but automatically.

in Order to give a false impression: The theme of “Convertible production” is, first of all, none of that can be put into effect overnight. For the first, created the necessary conditions and the company are digitized from scratch. And secondly, the conversion of the production facilities is worthwhile only if the product is found to be a minimum level of complexity. In the case of products with a low cost of materials and few manufacturing steps, the cost for the preparation of the change may exceed the Benefits.

the research project “the basic system of industry 4.0,”

the companies who have already laid the groundwork early on for a flexible production, currently enormously from their ability to adapt can benefit but not Vice versa. The advantages of the convertible production will be based on a current example: An automotive supplier wants to connect to instead of Auto-components ventilators. How does he operate?

First, it must be explained here, the output position of the company. The manufacturer has digitized in the scenario for a number of years, the production processes; this means that The data of the production plant are available and the consistency of the data is ensured on the infrastructure level of the company. In addition, the characteristics and capabilities of machines must, input and Intermediate products, etc. are present systematically in a digital format – as well, of course, the product to be manufactured.

On the Basis of this information can, in principle, be a production plan is automatically generated. In order to give companies the opportunity to create the necessary prerequisites as simple as possible and efficient, has called on the Federal Ministry of education and research already in the beginning of July 2016, the research project “the basic system of industry 4.0”, a short BaSys 4.0, to life.

Together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering and 14 other partners from industry and research developed in the framework of the project, the Middleware “BaSyx”. This allows the companies all the necessary services to the manufacturing and to associate with each other. The Software is Open-Source.

Digital twin

an Important starting point of “BaSyx” is the creation of Digital twins, which represent the properties and capabilities of real “players” in the production. In this way, it is possible to automatically determine whether a certain necessary production step, for example, by a particular machine done or not.

The Digital twin describes the capabilities of a machine accurately enough to be able to on the Basis of this Information, the device at a specific point in the schedule. This could be expressed – somewhat simplified – the ability to “Can be drilling holes”. Of course, it depends on the precision in several ways: on the Material to be drilled, the practicable hole diameter and a number of other things, but can be also described in the Digital twin.

in the end, it must be decided for the realization of the changeability, whether available skills are sufficient for the production of a new product, and then an appropriate production sequence will be found. If the borehole is finally part of a component of an Automobile or of a respiration device, is in principle indifferent.

Regardless of the changeability BaSyx offers “” also in the case of an unchanged production line advantages, because small Changes can be easily and quickly made, without that the production processes have to be interrupted. A device drill, for example, then simply an additional hole for a custom order.


The advantages of a Digital twin in the “BaSyx” are obvious: the production steps can be tested before implementing it virtual, possible eliminate sources of error at an early stage. In addition, the production can be optimized in a targeted manner, more accurate forecast can be made of opportunities and the production are constantly monitored and controlled. Simulations save time and costs. And: Is converted to a production only once on the service-based System, could be sold, the production capacity of a machine, in principle, also deliberately to third parties.

The talk is of a fairly novel business model: Production-as-a-Service. A factory owner sold not a product, but the performance of his machine. In times of crisis, this would be a real pledge for the industry: Suitable companies were in this way able to demand spikes – for example, to the much-needed protective equipment in Corona to satisfy times. In this way, you could make a large contribution to the overall management of unforeseen situations, such as the Corona-crisis.