AIMFREE ─ The consortium partners of the joint project | Picture credits: Werkzeugmaschinenlabor WZL of RWTH Aachen

Versatility and flexibility in automotive final assembly

Project for the holistic consideration of all necessary aspects of an agile assembly system in the automotive industry

Since the beginning of 2020, ELABO has been a partner in the AIMFREE joint project. This is a consortial project of the WZL of the RWTH Aachen in cooperation with the Fraunhofer IPT and the industrial partners Porsche AG, e.GO Mobile AG, ipolog GmbH, Siemens AG, BÄR Automation GmbH, Pilz GmbH & Co. KG.

The AIMFREE research project will run for three years and aims at the parallelization of workstations and the implementation of versatility and flexibility in the final assembly of automobiles.
A key aspect of the project is the holistic consideration of all necessary aspects of an agile assembly system. In addition to the agile system itself, this includes the initial system design as well as planning and control. Concrete results will be validated both in real assembly plants of the project partners from the automotive industry and in demonstration factory. In this way, application-oriented research is guaranteed. The joint work of research institutes, system providers and car manufacturers in the consortium ensures that all necessary competences and experience are combined in this project.

The research project is being carried out in nine work packages. Based on methodical and theoretical fundamentals, an automation architecture and a basic data model will be conceptualized first. Next, station technology modules enabling reconfiguration and an overall concept for the automation of vehicle logistics will be developed. At the same time, a software solution and a dynamic control system for intelligent planning and control will be developed. The results obtained will be validated in their entirety and illustrated in a demonstration environment.

Within the research project, ELABO forms an important building block for the development of reconfigurable station technology. With its knowledge in the field of intelligent workstation systems and digitalized communication of these systems through interfaces to ERP/MES systems and the shop floor, ELABO develops a flexible parts supply and station technology together with the other partners and is connecting it on the software side.

"ELABO decided early to take the path to the digital future and to rely on strong cooperation partnerships and networks. This includes in particular the exchange with other companies and with research institutions. The AIMFREE research project has brought together many innovative and successful companies under the leadership of RWTH Aachen University. This is the ideal combination for us to learn and to take the path into a new product world or even new markets", says Horst Maywald, Senior Advisor of ELABO GmbH about the project.