intelligent + virtual
Innovative materials and the factory of the future
Mankind's understanding of the atomic and molecular construction of materials is growing at terrific speed. Many of the materials around us are synthetic in origin: they are not present in nature in the same form. Today's scientists draw some of their inspiration from biological principles when it comes to optimising conventional materials or developing brand new materials.
Materials are being designed to meet specific needs and to fuse varied and sometimes even conflicting properties and functions. This enables previously inconceivable applications. In the coming ten to twenty years, innovative materials will revolutionise many of the techniques and products that we experience in our daily lives. Between the competing priorities of miniaturisation, functionality, design and environmental protection we are seeing the evolution of intelligent, individual and ecological products of the future.
The underlying conditions and possibilities in industrial production are constantly changing as new technologies, materials and forms of organisation develop. This creates new requirements for the planning and realisation of factories. The digital factory of the future will link all stages in the product lifecycle, thereby enabling flexible manufacturing.
Companies remain competitive by producing products of the highest quality that meet customers' needs and are also technology leaders. In a bid to successfully develop such products, many businesses employ innovation management techniques. Faced with growing pressure on time and costs in an atmosphere of global competition, companies have no choice but to continually optimise their production processes. Research and development teams are therefore working on innovative solutions for production technologies and methods. Flexibility, sustainability, product and service integration, cooperation management and nanotechnology characterise the important trends.