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Digital, Innovative and Automatic

Master students present project results.

Project group Max Holder GmbH

Project group EvoBus GmbH

Project group Faller Packaging

Hydrogen fuelling station

Hydrogen fuelling station

The students of the MSc Operations Management degree programme presented the results of their research projects on 23 July. In the master’s project they worked independently on different projects under real-world conditions. In teams they carried out problem analyses, agreed on solutions and finally made decisions together. For the first time the presentations took place virtually.

Bio-refinery the next generation of chemicals

The project team took a critical look at a novel bio-refinery currently under development. It examined various competing processes. Three platform chemicals were considered: acetic acid, furfural, and 5-HMF. Building on previous work, the current project focused in particular on the upstream process chains of the processes. The team first reviewed the results of the previous project. In order to clearly depict the material flows and parameters, the manufacturing processes already investigated were uniformly represented in process flow diagrams with process flow charts.   The consideration of the upstream processes was dependent on availability on the market, production, energy requirements, CO2 emissions and the transport route. In addition, the team examined the energy requirements and CO2 emissions for the heat supply in the manufacturing processes with different energy sources. This part of the project will be published in the scientific journal MDPI-Sustainability. The knowledge gained from this will serve as a research basis for subsequent MOM projects.

ARENA 2036– Hydrogen fuelling station of the future

Five students from the first semester of MSc Operations Management investigated the pioneering technology of hydrogen as a fuel. Together with ARENA2036 and the Fraunhofer Institute IAO, a hydrogen fuelling station was designed at the Vaihingen site of the University of Stuttgart. In addition to regular operation, this fuelling station was to be designed for research into hydrogen refuelling and the necessary infrastructure. The aim of project was to present ARENA2036 with an integrated concept for the realisation of the fuelling station. ARENA2036 is a Stuttgart research association made up of renowned representatives from science and industry. For the project, the team first evaluated the market environment, the structure, the functionality, the possible uses, as well as the design and profitability. At the final presentation, the project team presented the concept to professors and fellow students of ESB Business School as well as representatives from industry and research.

5G Technology– public transport

ESB Business School at Reutlingen University, the city and district of Reutlingen and the districts of Sigmaringen and Zollernalb are working together on the “5G Mobility“ project. The aim is to improve public transport in rural areas by means of autonomously running shuttles using 5G technology. Implementation concepts have already been developed for several locations for test and demonstration purposes. The participants first defined locations and developed user stories to identify the requirements for the concept.  On this basis, they developed a technical and organisational concept for three development stages of transport. In order to evaluate the economic efficiency of the concept, the project group developed a calculation tool to measure the profitability of autonomous shuttle transport. The concept serves as a basis for the application for funding from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure in order to realise a pilot site for mobility using 5G technology.

FESTO SE & Co. KG– Digital machine operator self-commutation

How can the production of valve terminals from FESTO be further optimised and made more efficient in the future with the help of digital machine operator self-commutation? This was the question the “digital machine operator self-commutation“ project team addressed in the summer semester of 2020 with the aim of developing a concept that supports assembly with digital assistance systems in order to reduce the failure and rework rate.  Non-value-adding activities should include automated solutions whenever possible and already provide initial approaches for short and medium-term implementation.

Particularly challenging was the product’s high variance, which required an integrated approach adapted to the specific circumstances. The project started with extensive research into literature and the market as well as various methods such as the Value Proposition Canvas and an intensive process analysis. Step by step, creative solutions were proposed and developed within the project, compared in a morphological box, discussed and transferred into an integrated concept.

Faller Packaging- Technology scouting and future scenarios for the digitisation of the packaging industry

In cooperation with August Faller GmbH & Co. KG, the project team developed technology radars, future scenarios and roadmaps for digitisation in the packaging industry. Specifically, the focus areas product and production as well as logistics were considered. In the actual state analysis, the company processes together with the market environment and its development were examined.  Parallel to this, intensive technology scouting for the subsequent development of the technology was carried out. Based on the actual state analysis and the technology radars created, the team drew up various future scenarios for each focus area. Finally, roadmaps with specific fields of action were developed for the management. These serve as a basis for the decision on whether to implement the project plan in the second project phase in the next semester.

Max Holder GmbH– Hose supply for multi-variant small series assembly

In the winter semester 2019/2020, the project group developed an optimised supply concept for hydraulic components on a Model mix production line in cooperation with Max Holder GmbH. In the current summer semester, the future system supplier was selected. In close cooperation with the supplier, the process-cost-optimised supply concept was developed and implemented in ongoing production operations. The final step was the analysis of the implemented supply concept and its subsequent optimisation under real conditions in order to secure the process in the long term. The successful result of the project is a powerful and stable RFID Kanban system delivered by the supplier directly to the places of use.  In the medium term, this optimised supply system will be rolled out to other product groups of Max Holder GmbH.

Dr. Tretter GmbH– Digitisation in the area of the physical flow of goods

In cooperation with Dr. Tretter Maschinenelemente GmbH, the students optimised the future physical flow of goods and thus investigated the possibility of digitisation. The students recorded the processes of the physical flow of goods, developed a concept for tracking the flow of goods from incoming goods to outgoing goods and introduced mobile hand scanners for these areas. The scanners digitise the accompanying documents. The requirements for the connection to the company’s ERP system were also put to the test. The project group compared them with the requirements of the hand scanners and integrated a new module for mobile data capture into the existing system.   In order to fully exploit the potential of the hand scanners, the processes were streamlined and the employees were trained in operational handling. The students also identified further potential for improvement outside the project and made suggestions for further action.

EvoBus GmbH– Development of an automation concept in the central spare parts warehouse of Daimler Buses

Automation enables companies to align their transport and warehousing processes to new challenges and prepare them for the demands of the future. To this end, the project team dealt with the integration of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) in the centralised spare parts warehouse of EvoBus GmbH (Daimler Buses) at the Neu-Ulm site. A detailed process analysis was carried out during the collaboration, which recorded the current requirements and restrictions for the future deployment of AGVs. The project focused on the technical, organisational and economic evaluation of the processes in order to identify the maximum automation potential. The project group linked the results with the current state-of-the-art AGV technology. This finally resulted in several concepts for process automation. The project team was able to support EvoBus GmbH in its strategic development by using proven scientific research methods and a practical approach.