Demonstration Tool Shop



The Demonstration Tool Shop of the WBA

The demonstration tool shop of the WBA is an essential part of the cluster for production technology on the RWTH Aachen University campus and serves as a test environment for piloting innovative production concepts for companies using single and small series production. With its extensive and modern machinery for the core technologies of milling, turning, grinding, wire-cutting EDM, die-sinking EDM as well as a diverse range of supporting technologies. As a reproduction of the entire process chain, from design, to CAM programming and production planning, to manufacturing, the WBA can serve many different stakeholders in the tool and die industry.

As a leading provider of solutions for companies in the tool and die industry, the demonstration tool shop offers a unique test environment with the character of a research laboratory, making it possible for companies using single and small series production to research and experience industry 4.0. In this environment, together with approximately 80 member companies and cooperation partners, approaches and solution for the single and small series production of the future are developed and piloted in realistic conditions.

Examples for industry 4.0 applications at the WBA include a system to systematically capture and evaluate errors along the entire process chain with aid of a user-friendly app for smart devices and a networked and user-friendly system on the shop-floor designed to comprehensively and continuously gather data and process and interpret processing times, idle periods, transition times, etc., which makes the complex production control more efficient.

WBA Machinery

WBA Machinery

The “Erlebniswelt Werkzeugbau” Demonstration Tool Shop of the WBA

The “Erlebniswelt Werkzeugbau” of the WBA is an environment in which different systems for solving specific problems are developed and exhibited. Due to the rising demands of customers with regard to the geometry of parts to be manufactured by the tool and also the procedural demands for shorter delivery periods, high quality standards and a transparent cost analysis, a high process mastery and continuous transparency along the entire order fulfillment process is required.

As there is no holistic solution for the various challenges at different points in the production process, the WBA is focused on developing and testing specific solutions as demonstrators. In particular, the connection of these systems is of key importance since the creation of isolated industry 4.0-solutions opposes the goal of increasing efficiency. Experiencing what is possible and then making the choice best for you – This is the motto of the “Erlebniswelt Werkzeugbau” at the WBA.

Demonstrators at the “Erlebniswelt Werkzeugbau” of the WBA

With respect to production planning and control, tool rooms are often lacking a company-specific planning system and knowledge about the capabilities of existing PPS systems. In the “Erlebniswelt Werkzeugbau” demonstration tool shop, the planning system for small series production is intuitively explained and visualized on the PPS wall, while also comparing various system providers via video sequences, so that target-oriented selection can be made. The tracking of parts from different orders on the shop floor is a mammoth task. Where is what part when? A question that is tremendously difficult to answer. But not in the “Erlebniswelt Werkzeugbau”! Parts are localized on the shop floor with help from an indoor GPS system and an unerring order tracking with a proprietary QR-code scanner system follows processing times, wait times and transit times exactly up to the minute.

The complex assembly of tools, which are made up of numerous components, is carried out in the “Erlebniswelt Werkzeugbau” with digital assistance. The semiautomatic derivation of assembly instruction videos from CAD models allows for a simple assembly, even for new employees. Also, here or during the maintenance or while mounting parts into a machine, employees are aided through the use of smart glasses. Thus, they can receive instructions by having them directly projected into their field of view or from an expert who is connected via video conference. In this manner, processes can be executed quicker and errors avoided. Errors that occur on the shop floor are recorded in a proprietary app for knowledge return called IDA (Identification Documentation Application). The focus here is on systematic recording, documentation and evaluation for organizational learning in the company.

Anhand eines speziellen Demonstrators wird das Thema „Change Request“ vorgestellt. Hier wird die Problematik von Änderungsaufträgen im Werkzeugbau anhand einer generischen und vereinfachten Prozesskette aufgezeigt. Dadurch sollen die Defizite entlang der CAx-Kette und deren fehlender Durchgängigkeit bei der Verwendung unterschiedlicher Softwaresysteme aufgedeckt. Dies bildet die Grundlage zur gemeinsamen Entwicklung von Lösungen, an denen die WBA mit ihren Kooperationsmitgliedern in den nächsten Jahren forschen und nach Lösungen suchen wird.




Dr.-Ing. Tobias Hensen

Phone +49 241 99016364