Synus – Methods and tools for the synergic conception and assessment of industry 4.0-solutions

Funding: European Regional Development Fund (EFRE)

Duration: From 2017 to 2020


Project Description

In order to enable a rapid introduction of industry 4.0 technology solution in small and middle-sized manufacturing companies, a set of methods and tools is required to simulate and evaluate the changes occurring within the information, energy and material flow. Only through  a full-featured and company-related analysis of the advantages and the challenges, can the risk of the implementation of I4.0-technologies be assessed and thus decision be made. The main objective of TU-Braunschweig in the innovation-joint project Synus is to identify, estimate and quantify the impacts of I4.0-solutions on the different company components and to define the criteria for choosing the adequate technology-solution.




Project Partners

  • Cooperation partners
    • 14 industrial companies, company-networks und funding-institution
  • Affiliated partners
    • Technische Universität Braunschweig:
      • Institute of Automotive Management and Industrial Production
      • Institute of Machine Tools and Production Technology
      • Institute for Engineering Design
    • Ostfalia Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaft:
      • Institute for mechatronic
    • Technische Universität Clausthal:
      • Institute for Informatics


Initial Situation and Problem

It is estimated that in the coming years the German industrial companies will invest 40 milliard Euro in I4.0-Solution, in order to keep their competitiveness and to be able to establish a technological world-leading position. Although wild ranged information and consulting offers of mature technology is actually available, small and middle-sized companies (SMSC) are still sceptical towards the digitization of their own processes.
The reasons are different and could be reduced to the following questions:

  • Which processes (e.g. Development, planning, controlling, production processes) could be more efficiently designed through the digitization?
  • What are the long- and short-term benefits (e.g. reduction of energy-cost, reduction of lead-time, reduction von personals) that result from process-digitization?
  • Which conditions need therefore to be established?

In order to give SMSC individual answers to these questions, a full-featured assessment that takes into consideration specific company-conditions, such as available infrastructure, strategical goals as well as market-development is needed. Such a full-featured evaluation has not been addressed in the actually available research and transfer-projects.

This results in:

  • Difficulties to evaluate the consequences of the implementation of I4.0 technology for SMSC
  • High uncertainty regarding the risks and benefits of the investment in I4.0-solutions


Objective and Approach

The main Goal of the joint innovation-project Synus can be broken down into the following objectives:

  • Systemization,characterisation and clustering of the existing I4.0-Solution using the identified technology affected fields and the targeted criteria (using KPIs) followed by the evaluation of the technological readiness level
  • Development of a model-logic for the representation of the material, energy, and the information flow within the different level of consideration, such as the physical level or information level. Then, the application of this model-logic in a production-model for a quantitative evaluation of the changes of material, information and energy flows and their impacts on the key-performance-indicators such as lead-time.
  • Illustration of the interdependencies and the compatibilities of the I4.0-solutions considering the different affected fields and company-areas, as basics for the evaluation of technology side-effects
  • Development of an evaluation-method for the assessment of the benefits of I4.0-solution taking into consideration the quantitative simulation-results and the targeted qualitative criteria applied on the areas: product-development- and production-planning.
  • Validate the developed methods and tools in the context of case studies with the participation of the industrial cooperation-partners.