Due to the fact that customisable products are increasingly demanded by customers, and that this influences not only singular factories but in most cases large parts of the related supply chains, the ManuCloud project aimed at developing an IT platform which enables configuration of customisable products provided by production networks. This configuration is not based on pre-defined options which are usually defined by the product engineers, but by the manufacturing capabilities gathered directly from the underlying manufacturing and IT environments.
In order to achieve that in an efficient way, the project also developed self-descriptions for equipments, process- and factory level manufacturing services and related mapping mechanisms. Those tools also enable fast equipment integration to factory-level IT systems such as MES (manufacturing execution systems). nxtControl and acp-IT stated during demonstrations that they expect a decrease in equipment integration efforts of up to 70% in case the ManuCloud approach for equipment and MES level IT engineering is followed consistently.
The IT innovations dealt with in this project were applied within the automotive (Bosch) and organic semiconductor (Heliatek, LEDON, GSS Gebäudesolarsysteme, Fraunhofer COMEDD) industry, i.e. product configuration of customisable façade elements consisting of orgnanic PV and LED elements was provided via the developed IT infrastructure. Additionally, these partners have driven forward the lamination processes which are necessary to manufacture those products since up to now, no appropriate process settings existed.