Software-defined manufacturing for the automotive and supplier industry

The future of the vehicle manufacturers and suppliers lies in the ability to respond dynamically to changes in production. The research project SDM4FZI therefore deals with a new method: software-defined manufacturing (SDM). Analogous to solutions from information and communication technology, non-predefined functions are to be realized by automatically generated software. The basic prerequisite is the abstraction of the existing hardware by digital twins with the help of which the software can be automatically derived and distributed. [1]

IFL is developing a physical simulation model in the simulation environment NVIDIA Isaac Sim for the handling and transport of components within a manufacturing scenario. In this context, articulated robots with different grippers (finger grippers, suction grippers, ...) together with associated sensors (2D/3D cameras, laser scanners, ...) are modeled and implemented. In addition, the transfer points and active/passive conveyors are implemented. A heterogeneous fleet of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) is modeled for the digital representation of material transport in intralogistics. Models of different manufacturers as well as versatile capabilities are considered. By using the administration shell model (Asset Administration Shell) [2], the possibility of a pure simulation as well as an integration of real operational data shall be given.

For intelligent order allocation and material supply of the changeable stations, a fleet manager is developed, which handles dispatching and path planning of the AGVs as well as the task allocation to corresponding stations. The fleet manager is based on the VDA 5050 communication interface [3], a standardization for communication between AGVs and the master controller. Simulation in NVIDIA Isaac Sim allows dynamic response to changed products and process flows by testing handover and transport on the digital twin before execution in the real world.

[1] SDM4FZI (2021) - Software-defined Manufacturing für die Fahrzeug- und Zulieferindustrie,

[2] BMWi (2020) - Verwaltungsschale in der Praxis,

[3] VDA (2022) - Interface for the communication between automated guided vehicles (AGV) and a master control,

The "SDM4FZI" research project is funded as part of the "Future Investments in the Automotive Industry" funding program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).