Federal Garden Show: Personalised potted plants make industry 4.0 comprehensible.

Study project with DHBW Mosbach and Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences.

The digitalisation of production today makes it possible to produce even individual products – for example personalised potted plants – in series. Interested parties can experience what this looks like in practice until 6 October at the Federal Garden Show (BUGA) in Heilbronn. In a joint project of the Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (DHBW) in Mosbach and the Hochschule Heilbronn (HHN), students planned and implemented an industry 4.0 scenario and visualised the process with WEBfactory, among other things.

In order to be able to watch live how a machine produces its personal BUGA souvenir, visitors first have to define some product features on a tablet. Once the guest has selected the flower colour, a picture for the plant pot and entered an individual inscription, the system starts moving: The machine places an empty flower pot under a dosing unit, where it is filled with soil. In the next step, a robot inserts the desired seed variety and covers the seed with soil. Finally, the pot is printed at a printing station with the picture and the short text – for example “For Grandma”. Four minutes later, the visitor holds his personalised souvenir in his hands. The digitally controlled process fulfils the project requirement to produce the batch size one (i.e. special productions) in series.

Visualisation via large displays.

While the machine is producing the give-away, real-time visualisations of the process run in parallel on two large screens. Our WEBfactory software displays various information and key figures on one of the displays: Which order is currently being processed? What is the current processing status? How many pots have already been produced in which period? The second screen shows the production process using a 3D model. This was developed by the students with the ISG-virtuos software as the digital twin of the plant.

Making the Industrial Internet of Things a tangible experience.

“With the Smart Factory, visitors should experience the great advantage of digitisation in production,” explains DHBW Professor Dr. Christian Kuhn. “Each product can be manufactured individually, while the processes of the system continue to run fully automatically and thus neither require additional time nor incur more costs. The entire project consists of several student projects supervised by DHBW and HHN employees and supported by the two partner companies WEBfactory and ISG Industrielle Steuerungstechnik. With the presentation at BuGa, the two universities want to appeal in particular to the young visitors and inspire them for engineering sciences. The balance so far looks good: On 30 opening days, 1,450 visitors have already received their individual flowerpot – taking home with them a lasting impression of modern industry 4.0.