The trend towards batch size 1 paired with an increasing number of product variants places high demands on the production system. Previously, it was possible (and common) to produce large numbers on rigid lines. Today, versatile (reconfigurable) systems are in demand, through which different derivatives can be produced without effort and which also can be extended without much effort to include further, previously unplanned variants. This places high demands on the interface to product development, including quality, but also on automation and production IT.
The indispensable basis of all engineering activities is a consistent database for the product and the production system. This is the only way to create digital twins that accompany product and production: from the first idea through the operating time to recycling or the ultimate scrapping. Globally networked engineering means looking for a solid database at the early stage of the project and building/expanding it in a targeted manner in order to validate and evaluate optimal adjustments in advance during all phases of the lifecycle.
The basis for working networked is a coordinated process. Working networked can only succeed if it is clearly defined which activities are involved with which interfaces. When this process is in place, the physical distance between individual employees is irrelevant. The actual work is done with tools designed for this purpose (generally software).
In addition to joint work on assemblies (construction), we are currently working on options of virtual on-site inspection (AR/VR collaboration) and the remote control of robots in a combination of AR and robot controller.
Interdisciplinary engineering links product development with production system development in order to detect errors or bottlenecks at an early stage, and thereby reduces costs and saves time.
Product validation in the production system is checked and secured by means of product validation loops (with different degrees of product development maturity): e.g. accessibility during the welding process or installation of certain components in the final assembly. If required, adjustments can be made to the product or the production at an early stage during the development phase.
Scrum is agile project management in innovation projects to achieve maximum output with limited budgets. Here, priorities in the project must be based on the objectives and the quality of existing outputs. Agile processes, for example Scrum, are one approach.
It will be interesting to adapt this approach, which originates in software development, to engineering projects. This requires a high level of adaptation from the contributing roles in the project. Once this has been done, agile project management can open up great potential benefits, which ultimately translate into high quality and topicality of the development work to be achieved.
In contrast to software development, however, the "point of no return" will be achieved earlier in the timeline. Namely then, when "facts in steel and iron" are commissioned and created, the Scrum methodology will have to give way to the traditional project management processes again for reasons of cost,.