Fraunhofer and UBC agree on cooperation for the digital transformation in industry

The Fraunhofer Institutes for Experimental Software Engineering IESE and for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU and the Faculty of Applied Science (APSC) at the University of British Columbia, Canada (UBC), signed a framework agreement for research collaboration in the field of industrial digital transformation in April 2022. The focus of the collaboration is to be on the digitalization of machines, processes, the required infrastructure, and ultimately the digital transformation of companies in the manufacturing industry.

Fraunhofer and UBC agree on cooperation for digital transformation in industry, Fraunhofer IESE
© Lenny Kuhne / Upsplash
With digital technologies, German and North American industries can capitalize on significant market opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic. The collaboration combines the expertise and resources of three renowned research institutions in the field of industrial digital transformation.

The cooperation will combine the know-how and the resources of the three renowned research institutions to establish a new project center that aims to reduce costs, increase productivity and efficiency, and improve process and product quality in many manufacturing industries. This is to be achieved through the development of HDTs (holistic digital twins) and the use of Artificial Intelligence in process planning and optimization, with the level of consideration ranging from the individual machine tool to the entire factory.

“The development of the Industrie 4.0 middleware Eclipse BaSyx, which is coordinated by Fraunhofer IESE, will benefit from the cooperation with UBC and Fraunhofer IWU,” said Professor Liggesmeyer, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE. “I expect that the combination of the BaSyx system with the process simulation models developed at UBC in the area of machine tools and with the wear models and thermal models of Fraunhofer IWU will enable a significant increase in the quality of production processes.”

“The collaboration will give us the opportunity to enhance our digital machine twins with plug and produce software solutions developed by UBC,” said Professor Ihlenfeldt, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU. “With the additional inclusion of the Eclipse BaSyx middleware from Fraunhofer IESE, we will be able to open currently only locally accessible optimization tools for integration into production planning tools and agile matrix production scenarios. With that, the collaboration with UBC and Fraunhofer IESE will cover the whole value chain in production from the machine level all the way to logistical resource and task allocation.”

The collaboration will focus on service offerings in the domain of “industrial digital transformation”. Initially, these will be services enabled by the provision of holistic digital twins, particularly in machining. In order to stay flexible in reacting to the market and to client demands, the overall service portfolio offered by the collaboration will address various segments of the value chain including licensing, but also design and development services, prototyping, proof of concept, testing, validation, standardization, and other custom-tailored solutions.

“This research framework provides an effective platform to build on more than ten years of UBC-Fraunhofer cooperation,” said Dr. Walter Mérida, Associate Dean, Research and Industry Partnerships, for the UBC Faculty of Applied Science.

The initial five-year collaboration has a total budget of about €4.3 million, including the contributions from Fraunhofer, UBC, and industry partners.

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