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DigiFab4KMU

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Digital Factories for SMEs

Digitalization as Challenge and Opportunity in the Construction Industry

The construction industry stands on the cusp of a digital revolution, bringing with it new challenges that are being felt with ever more urgency. The requirements and expectations placed on building projects are getting ever more complex, as are the laws and building codes that need to be followed. The stark reality is that the experience of a single human planner or even a group of planners will not suffice to find the optimum solution for intricate problems or complex building projects. Building Information Modeling (BIM) was put forward as a possible solution, but reality has shown that the sheer diversity of data types and systems in the industry stands in the way of gaining a consolidated, unified sense for whichever building project or production one is grappling with. More and more data is available, and software capabilities are becoming ever more powerful. Still, most systems in the market remain isolated solutions, and while they combine geometric or architectural data from different sources, they typically leave out information from industrial production. Important procedural data is left outside their reach.

Objectives and Approach

Facing these challenges, the DigiFab4KMU initiative has committed itself to rethinking established approaches in the construction industry. It intends to enable a meaningful integration of all construction phases and the underlying data in a single system by developing an innovative Integrated Virtualization System or IVS. The IVS will consolidate and make available all relevant data and information

  • for the entire project’s lifecycle (from planning to execution and operation to possible extension or reuse) and
  • all functions and trades (production/processes, building and building services, logistics, IT) as well as
  • all relevant systems already in place.

This creates a combined pool of geometric and procedural information in a form still sorely lacking in the market.

Using this integrated and intelligently consolidated information, processes can be optimized across all actors and phases in the construction process. The resulting completely digitalized value chain and consistent optimization process for the entire life of an object are made possible by integrating the following phases and the characteristic types of data they produce or consume:

  1. Planning / architecture, referring to the relevant material flows and processes (with the digital integration and optimization of processes)
  2. Inclusion of the material flows in business intelligence and IoT systems (linked with production processes)
  3. Monitoring of the material flows and continuous optimization of all processes by means of the data collected by the system.

This calls for the prototype development of a system for the automatic creation of virtual twins – the integrated virtualization system – to power the coupling of architectural and procedural data.

Innovations pursued by the initiative:

  1. A neutral container data format
  2. Integrated virtualization system (digital twin)
  3. Web-based viewer
  4. Integrated services, adapted to the specific needs of small to medium-sized enterprises

Wibu-Systems’ Contribution

Wibu-Systems is preparing to be an active user of the system as part of its sub-project “Industry 4.0 concepts in hardware production” and contributes to the DigiFab4KMU initiative in several ways:

  • Generating novel processes to match the Industry 4.0 standard, with innovative steps taken by Wibu-Systems for
    • the optimized planning and construction of the new Wibu-Systems’ production facilities, aligning the production infrastructure with Industry 4.0 standards by means of the integrated virtualization system;
    • the digital optimization of processes in the making of Wibu-Systems’ products (CodeMeter components) already from the first planning of the facilities by drawing on all the available data and information consolidated in the IVS.

Wibu-Systems is actively contributing to the design of an innovative service model that takes it into a direction not yet covered by Wibu-Systems’ portfolio (providing the IVS to small and medium-sized businesses with added protection for the application and its data).