Companies need flexible and changeable factories in order to survive successfully in the market. The required ongoing processes of adaptation must be designed in a targeted manner in order to ensure the economic viability of the factories over their entire lifecycle. Consideration must also be given to ecological objectives. The special challenge for factory planners lies in the fact that the lifespan of factory buildings, production machines or technical building equipment generally significantly exceeds the production duration of products.
Against the background of various internal and external change drivers such as new technologies, shortened product lifecycles or changed legislation, it is important to coordinate all factory objects with regard to their individual lifecycle in such a way that a suitable factory configuration is achieved with regard to economic and ecological goals. Existing methods and tools cannot adequately meet these challenges in factory planning and operation, as they take the approach of a reactive adaptation of the factory to quasi-static conditions. A generic quantitative description of the different lifecycles of factory objects at different system levels is missing. In particular, it has not yet been possible to adequately depict the dynamic interactions between factory objects over their lifecycle and to consider these in the planning, development and operation of the factory.
The aim of this project is therefore to "see", "understand" and "evaluate" the lifecycles of factory objects. Due to the complexity of the factory system, a quantitative life cycle evaluation ought to be made possible based on a model of the factory (“LC factory model”). This should help to derive recommendations for a lifecycle-oriented factory configuration that contribute to the fulfilment of economic and ecological objectives over the lifecycle. The methodological progress consists in linking and aggregating detailed, quantitative description models of the factory objects of the lower system levels in such a way that factory configurations can be quantitatively evaluated and designed up to the plant level. Thus, a factory can be optimally adjusted to defined target values, taking into account the heterogeneous lifecycles of its factory objects as well as current and future drivers of change.