Future Work Lab Image
Future Work Lab: augmented and virtual reality applications enable cost-effective planning and a faster way to adapt production systems in the event of disruptions on the shop floor. (Credit: Fraunhofer IAO/Ludmilla Parsyak)

The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO and the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA have developed solutions to enable remote communication and knowledge transfer. Cooperation with their partners from industry and research is shifting to the digital Future Work Lab run by the two Stuttgart-based institutes. This new form of connectivity is made possible by digital twins and virtual lab tours.

The concept of a digital twin is widely accepted in modern manufacturing and represents a key component of Industry 4.0. It provides a digital model of the entire production process and a means of intervening directly in production at any time. Put simply, a digital twin is a digital representation of a real object in the digital world.

Researchers are now taking this concept even further by applying it to the field of knowledge transfer. Sientists working on the “FutureWork360” project are creating digital twins of their lab environments using a laser scanner. By bringing these labs into the digital realm, they can make them available online. Visualization of these digital twins is handled by the technology partner Hemminger Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH.

The scientists’ research is presented through texts, videos, and images. Examples include the use of virtual reality to help people experience different forms of human-machine-collaboration.