Smart Tool

Intelligent tools for the networked production of tomorrow. A contribution to the future project "Industry 4.0"

High wages and demanding environmental standards prohit that manufacturing companies engage solely in a price competition. For a long time they advertise throughout the world high quality and well thought-out products to customers. But in the global competition other suppliers bring solutions to the world market. Both consumer products and capital goods are now increasingly differentiated and are subject to unpredictable fluctuations in demand, so that now also production and logistics processes respond with full dynamic. With today's status quo - centrally controlled processes - this is hardly possible.

The upcoming requirements can only be met by Cyber-physical systems (CPS), which use integrated intelligent sensors to perceive their environment and actuators with which they can influence them. Cyber-physical systems can be integrated into products, machinery and equipment that can adapt through self-optimization and reconfiguration to changing jobs and working conditions. Their use represents a paradigm shift in the production, which is pushed by the call "Intelligent networking of production - A contribution to the project of the future industrial 4.0". Germany aims to become the worldwide leading supplier of Cyber-Physical Systems.

Tool cycle 4.0: With transparency to efficiency

The increasing number of product variants and the increasingly frequent product changeovers cause in machining manufacturing for the production of components, eg the mechanical engineering industry, an increasing number of different tools and increasingly tool change on the processing machines required. Due to the various activities in the tool cycle, as the tool procurement or installation services, and their need for information, which are necessary for providing the tools, the effort required has increased to such an extent that the costs make up nearly a quarter of the production cost. A key obstacle to the realization of existing optimization potential is the lack of information transparency in the tool cycle due to autonomous, heterogeneous IT systems, where tool-related data is stored (eg, enterprise resource planning systems or machine control) or simply the frequent lack of necessary data, such as the current location where the tools.

Objectives of the project:
Project goal is the cyber-physical system Smart Tool, consisting of an intelligent tool system and its interaction partners in the tool cycle, how to develop machine tool or instrument. The intelligent tool system is the core innovation of the project.

Central to the success of the project, the economic design of intelligent tool system consisting of toolholder with integrated sensors, logic and transmission units and the actual tool with integrated storage medium. On the software side are an event-based information architecture and an interface in the form of an embedded system to develop to produce crosslinking of the tool cycle.
Here, a track and trace system is simultaneously realized, the self-tuning based on the generated tracing data in the tool logistics, for example, Lagerortbestimmung for short transport distances, and tool procurement (ordering strategy) allowed. To validate the developed system demonstrators are manufactured and tested in pilot areas of the user companies.
The intelligent tool system acts in the tool cycle as communication and information source for the interaction partner, so that planners know little effort and reliably where and in what condition the tool systems are in production. The enclosed information gaps in networked tool cycle will be used to implement an automated decision support for various activities, such as the selection of an optimal order strategy. A transfer of the system to other wear-tools, such as injection molding tools, or for the provision of other resources in companies is in principle possible.

Kick-off-Meeting (11/2013)

Project partners:

  • Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, System Manufacturing
  • Siemens AG, Energy Sector, Fossil Power Generation Division
  • G├╝hring oHG, research and development
  • E. Zoller GmbH & Co. KG
  • Haimer GmbH
  • EINS GmbH
  • TU Darmstadt, IES (Integrated Electronic Systems) & PTW (Production Management, Technology and Machine Tools)
Link to project website: