Current Situation and Vision
Industrial production processes – e.g. in the automotive industry – are characterized by the high level of work distribution among companies in decentralized cooperative structures (so-called Smart Ecosystems). At the same time, and in addition to the physical products themselves, the amounts of data generated before, during, and after the various production steps are becoming increasingly important. The novel effective, timely, and comprehensive analysis of existing production support data offers multiple approaches for optimizing individual and system-¬wide processes, for exercising responsive control, and for eliminating or preventing failures.
The vision pursued by PRO-OPT is to exploit existing data in Smart Ecosystems and make them usable in practice for the involved companies. In this way, PRO-OPT increases the competitiveness of the German economy.
How to deal with the large amounts of data generated in relation to processes and across companies poses problems for individual companies – particularly for SMEs – which are almost impossible for them to master on their own.
Relevant data are distributed (i.e., they exist in subsystems of various companies, partly redundantly), very large (since Big Data from individual companies multiply), time-critical (i.e., they must be used in real time to control ongoing operations), heterogeneous (i.e., they have different formats, which are not necessarily suitable for an overarching analysis), quality-sensitive (i.e., they are subject to different quality requirements), and dynamic. In practice, individual companies furthermore pursue individual, different evaluation goals. Finally, companies generally have a vital interest in maintaining sovereignty and control over their own data.
From the perspective of individual companies, particularly SMEs, the desired data-driven benefits can only be realized if the fundamental technologies for processing these Big Data are available in the form of cost-efficient services (which can be used by many, but only when there is a need) and if individualization of the evaluation continues to be ensured. From the technical perspective, heterogeneous infrastructures must be integrated and must be given the possibility to control data access and data usage in order to enable local and global analyses (i.e., within a company and across companies). From the business perspective, an incentive must be established to encourage data sharing and to offer customized evaluation services via new business models. While existing Big Data approaches and infrastructures do address important core aspects such as massive parallel data processing, they do not sufficiently take into account the above-mentioned theoretical and practical challenges, particularly in production technology.
- PRO-OPT will, as a central result, develop an integrative modeling approach and associated technologies for decentralized cooperative structures (Smart Ecosystems), taking into account local data sovereignty and different levels of data quality. The explicit, semantic modeling of the data and their qualities will make it possible to protect them efficiently, to integrate distributed data with guaranteeable qualities, and to perform systematic data analyses.
- PRO-OPT will provide a software platform for decentralized data analyses and their visualization, which will enable secure sharing of local and global data as well as optimized decision-making for each company.
- PRO-OPT will enable companies, which increasingly interact in networked structures, to effectively use the emerging internal and external data flows. On the one hand, this will allow them to implement new, innovative business models and processes; on the other hand, it will allow them to optimize existing models and processes in terms of quality and efficiency.
- PRO-OPT will demonstrate its benefits in a concrete application scenario: in production technology, PRO-OPT will achieve failure reduction in production and an increase in efficiency regarding the supply chain in automotive manufacturing.
The project results can be used in a wide variety of domains, such as automotive technology, medical technology, e-Energy, Ambient Assisted Living, smart mobility, etc. In PRO-OPT, the application scenario production technology in automotive manufacturing is used as an example.