Self-organizing production: Flexible control of manufacturing and logistics

One of the use cases of Industrie 4.0 is 'self-organizing production'. Already in the first documents on Industrie 4.0, the vision is found that "intelligent products (...) are (are) able to control themselves independently through production due to their ad-hoc networking capability and by carrying along a digital product description [1].

Self-organization in the factory is usually connected with the goal of flexible production control. Agent-based control approaches have the advantage that independent agents can react quickly to unforeseen events locally. In view of frequent delays and plan changes, the advantages of centralized planning cannot be realized in practice anyway.

Swarms of insects serve as model for autonomous systems:

Self-organization takes place on the shop floor and at the level of global supply chains. For many suppliers, it is difficult to transfer planning authority and confidential information to a central supply chain orchestrator. This results in tasks of self-organization and agent-based decentralized planning: With the IIC testbed 'SmartFactoryWeb', the IOSB has developed a marketplace for flexible utilization of worldwide production capacities. This marketplace is linked to a detailed description model for existing production capabilities. Furthermore, there is the possibility of online monitoring of production.

For our customers we conduct case studies for the introduction of self-organized production and logistics. Furthermore, algorithms for distributed planning are developed and evaluated in simulation environments.

[1] acatech (Ed.): Implementation recommendations for the future project Industrie 4.0 – Final report of the working group Industrie 4.0, April 2013

More about self-organizing production


“AI expertise is not enough on its own”

In the future, manufacturing will be self-organizing. To achieve this end, each element of the production network – from sensors to secure cloud interfaces – must harmonize perfectly. Interview with Dr. Olaf Sauer.


Self-organizing, flexible production instead of assembly line

How can automotive production remain competitive in times of ever greater diversity of variants and ever faster product cycles? The new study "At the end of the line - How automakers can embrace flexible production" [1] sees the solution, at least for the premium segment, in intelligently networked, self-organizing production.


Lighthouse project SWAP

Hierarchical swarms working together (semi-)autonomously: As part of the SWAP lighthouse project, ten Fraunhofer Institutes are developing new technological concepts for the modular and self-organized production of the future.