Smart Production network drives digitisation in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region

PTA involved in the development of the Smart Production Demonstrator

The management consultancy PTA GmbH has been an integral part of the “Smart Production” expert network since the beginning of 2020. As a contribution to digitalisation in production, the working group recently developed a Smart Production Demonstrator, which illustrates the processes of a digital factory in a model. The Industry 4.0 cluster was launched in Mannheim on the initiative of the Department of Economic and Structural Development in cooperation with the Rhine-Neckar district and now brings together around 50 partners. The network pursues three goals: Promoting innovation through cooperation, transferring knowledge from research institutions in the metropolitan region and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

“The digital transformation is certainly one of the greatest economic and cultural challenges of our time. In this respect, I am pleased that the PTA is actively involved in the development of trend-setting digital solutions as part of this Industry 4.0 cluster. Our experts are thus making an important value contribution to the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region becoming a national hotspot for digitalisation and the fourth industrial revolution,” says Dr. Tim Walleyo, Managing Director of the management consultancy PTA GmbH, about the objective of the “Smart Production” expert network.

Smart Production Demonstrator shows steps of digital value creation
With the development of the Smart Production Demonstrator, the Industrie 4.0 cluster is setting an important milestone on the path to the digital factory. The demonstrator seamlessly maps the value creation stages of a manufacturing company – from the customer order in the web shop to the packaging of the finished product. To do this, it simulates the production of an intelligent sensor cube and runs through the following scenario: a customer individually assembles an intelligent sensor cube in an online shop. The order and configuration of the sensor cube results in individually defined properties of the manufacturing process. A worker then goes into action in the digital factory, who pre-assembles the cubes by accessing a smart shelf. In the next step, these pre-assembled parts are handed over to a collaborative robot called YuMi from ABB, which grips them, fits them firmly together and glues the plastic housing. The finished cube leaves production and the shipping process is initiated. All production steps are fully automated by means of Robot Process Automation (RPA). Large screens virtually depict the entire production process in the model, allowing the potential of virtual production to be impressively demonstrated.

PTA experts map central processes using a cloud platform
As part of the development of the Smart Production Demonstrator, PTA’s IT experts, under the project management of Dr. Frank Gredel, Head of Digital Transformation Consulting, and Natalia Rain, Digital Transformation Consultant, will ensure that all customer-related processes can be mapped with the help of an IT cloud platform, including the necessary customer experience solution. In the future, the demonstrator will handle all marketing, sales and service processes integrated via the cloud solution SAP C/4HANA. According to Dr. Gredel, participation in this trend-setting project pays off: “The establishment of such an innovative network is of great importance – for the metropolitan region as a business location and for us at PTA by contributing our proven know-how as process consultants and digitalisation experts.” Furthermore, within this alliance, PTA can freely approach partners and thus potential customers, especially since the Industrie 4.0 cluster with the Smart Production Demonstrator will in future provide convincing arguments for manufacturing companies to take the step into the digital factory.

“With access to the Smart Production Demonstrator at the Mannheim MAFINEX technology centre, we have a powerful acquisition tool. In the future, we can invite our customers there and present to them the manifold value-added processes of digital production in a very practical way, as well as demonstrate our competences in this area,” summarises project manager Dr. Gredel with satisfaction.

About the “Smart Production” network
As a powerful Industry 4.0 cluster, the alliance now unites about 50 partners from innovative start-ups to manufacturing SMEs, IT companies, universities and global players from the entire Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region. The project consistently aims for practical relevance. In a strong alliance, the partners jointly develop application-oriented technology projects and effective implementation processes for the world of tomorrow.