(Extract from https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/system/files/ged/de_country_analysis.pdf)
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is funding applied research programs in the area of autonomous systems that have a close relation to Industry 4.0.
The Autonomics program (2009-2014, 15 projects, 55 MEUR)
The Autonomics program (2009-2014, 15 projects, 55 MEUR) was about forward-looking approaches to the development of a new generation of smart tools and systems that are capable of autonomous action – i. e. of networking with each other independently via the internet, maintaining situational awareness, adapting to changing operational conditions, and interacting with users. The program primarily focused on applications in the logistics and transport sector as well as in service robotics. The outcomes and findings of these projects formed an important basis for a successor program entitled “Autonomics for Industry 4.0”
“Autonomics for Industry 4.0” (2013-2017, 16 projects, 44 MEUR)
“Autonomics for Industry 4.0” (2013-2017, 16 projects, 44 MEUR) used state-of-the-art ICT to reduce the amount of energy required in manufacturing processes, whilst also aiming to make these processes more environmentally friendly and efficient in terms of material wear. Another aim of the program was to foster the development of a highly flexible production infrastructure that is able to respond to customer demands for highly individualized products (batch size 1). In turn, this intends to stimulate the development of innovative premium-level products (e.g. service robots) that offer particular benefits, added value, and are thus highly attractive for users from the various industry sectors and for consumers alike. In addition to focussing on technological developments, Autonomics also dealt with important issues across multiple sectors, including law, human-machine interaction, industrial service robotics, and reference architectures for autonomous systems. Six sets of guidelines have been published based on the outcomes of the projects.
“Platforms, Additive Manufacturing, Imaging, Communication, Engineering – PaiCE” (2016-2021, 14 projects, 46 MEUR),
- In the current technology program “Platforms, Additive Manufacturing, Imaging, Communication, Engineering – PaiCE” (2016-2021, 14 projects, 46 MEUR), new solutions spanning several links of the value chain are developed and tested by interconnecting different technology fields. For instance, innovative technologies and methods are developed, which open up new possibilities for universal product engineering and for correlating this with production processes. Dynamic process optimization also means the implementation of innovative logistics solutions in a highly agile manner so that these may be adapted fast to changing market requirements or unforeseeable events. 3D technologies offer new possibilities in the development and optimization of products, in process monitoring and in quality assurance. These far-reaching integration processes require appropriately designed communication networks that are specially designed for requirements in the industrial environment. These include high scalability, availability, realtime capability and high security in terms of credibility and integrity. Service robotics also plays a significant role in the automation of industrial production. The development of service robotics for wide low-cost industrial use, especially for SMEs, is a core objective of PAiCE.
“PAiCE”, the lighthouse project “Industrial Communication for Factories”
As part of the BMWi program “PAiCE”, the lighthouse project “Industrial Communication for Factories” – IC4F78 (March 2017-June 2020; 18.3 MEUR budget, 10 M BMWi funding) aims at the development of secure, robust and real-time communication solutions for the processing industry. By mid-2020, 15 project partners from industry and research will develop a technology kit for a trustworthy industrial communications and computing infrastructure based on an open architecture that extends across domains and allows a modular extension for new applications and communication technologies. Key technologies from the areas of 5G, multi-access edge computing (MEC), cloud computing, virtualization, as well as industrial monitoring and analytics are used. The technology kit is intended to enable users to select the right ICT technologies, according to the new Industry 4.0 requirements and the specific migration approach.
Broadband and 5G