ScaleIT: Scaling ICT for Increasing Productivity in mechtronics manufacturing

January 8th, 2016  |  Published in Research

Germany has a leading position in the development of mechatronic systems. However, manufacturers often face the following contradiction: on the one hand they themselves manufacture high-tech for the production of tomorrow and on the other hand due to the high diversity in their own production they become fragmented with to manual processes. The lack of interconnectivity complicates the cross-process and cross-domain horizontal value creation, as well as innovative interactions with industry 4.0-solutions on the shop floor. According to experience reports, today’s IT-solutions are often too complex, inflexible and heavyweight. This results in an inability to scale under economic conditions and no effective support for decentralized process composition by using intelligent tools. To close this gap and thereby to obtain technological leadership, it requires a shop floor -oriented co-innovation.

By providing very low barriers of entry as well as high value and usefulness, the ScaleIT approach aims at making cyber-physical system modules, such as intelligent tools, a key factor on the shop floor of smaller companies. For this purpose, the project researches the integration of hardware components by software based adaptation and composition mechanisms. The mechanisms are built upon web technologies and an app concept, leading to responsive designs and semantic mash ups. The latter are refined for the integration of intelligent tools, the adaptation of HMIs and dynamic data stream composition on the shop floor. These are intended to encourage the use and the development of innovative hardware solutions.

Manufacturers in the domain of mechatronics (Zeiss 3DA, RoodMicrotec, fine metal, digiraster, SICK) will develop and test intelligent tools, which are characterized by low investment costs (low infrastructure investments, opportunistic implementation strategies, manageable software costs due to the app store principle, low socio-technical barriers of entry) as well as high flexibility and customizability. These companies are supported by a group of innovative IT-SMEs in the domains of gateways (Ondics), monitoring (Bull) and HMIs (Smart HMI). The research partners (KIT, FhG, Uni Stuttgart) contribute new dynamic approaches for hardware connectivity and also data and interface adaptation to the project.

Within the project, concrete processes of the user companies serve as a basis for a holistic and economic view of the entire system. Application scalability is at the core of the research even in the concrete use cases. However, this scalability is not limited to sheer scalability along size, but also implies the scaling regarding the staff’s qualification as well as the scaling of simple isolated solutions and informal ad-hoc processes horizontally to complex value creation chains.

The results of the project will serve as a “showcase” demonstrating how intelligent tools, as the core of industry 4.0-solutions, can be lucratively used in the production. By actively involving the professional association microTEC Südwest, the applicability within established value-creation networks will be further ensured in an operationally and strategically controlled way.


  • 2016 – 2020


  • Carl Zeiss 3D Automation
  • SICK
  • RoodMicrotec
  • FeinMetall
  • digiRaster
  • Bull
  • SmartHMI
  • Ondics
  • Fraunhofer IAO
  • IAT Stuttgart
  • microTec Südwest




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