What does a factory of the future look like? What role will people play and what will be done by machines? The ZAL Innovation Days will address such questions on February 27th and 28th in Hamburg. Following the successful premiere in 2017, this high-level international innovation conference will take place for the second time in Hamburg's ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research. The patron for this event is the German Aerospace Coordinator Thomas Jarzombek. In addition to a series of high-profile lectures on the topic from the perspective of science and industry, the practical application of new technologies will be dealt with in workshops and in the exhibition space. Among other things, a table-top football robot, a new inkjet-based aircraft coating system and a robot butler for the manufacturing hanger will be on display.
One thing is for sure: nobody needs to fear a horror scenario in which robots cause unemployment in the long term. On the contrary, the ever stronger link between work performed by people, and that done by machines is creating true teamwork in production. Concrete examples can also be observed at our venue, the ZAL TechCenter, in which more than 30 partners from industry and science conduct research together.
A case in point, Airbus and Helmut Schmidt University are testing the use of so-called exoskeletons in aircraft production; assistance systems that aid production workers in the lifting of heavy loads, for example in cabin upgrades. The start-up Synergeticon has programmed a collaborative robot in the ZAL TechCentre that relieves workers of physically demanding work on the factory floor, such as the riveting of the roof fuselage segments. Thanks to finely calibrated sensors, the robots cannot get in anyone’s way.
Presenters at the ZAL Innovation Days 2019 include Peter Haas of the Brown University Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative, Prof. Dr. med. Wolfgang Wahlster from the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and representatives of leading companies such as Bosch, NVIDIA and KUKA. A dozen professional workshops, several practical
demonstrations in the exhibition area and an exclusive evening event on the Elbe will round off the event.
In his political keynote, the Federal Government's aerospace coordinator, Thomas Jarzombek, emphasized the importance of digital innovation for aviation: "New digital technologies open up completely new possibilities for optimizing production processes, thus increasing efficiency. Keywords such as intelligent and automated production, robotics and artificial intelligence are becoming tangible and understandable for the aviation industry - particularly here in the ZAL. "Jarzombek also reported on the latest independent evaluation of the BMWi aviation research program LuFo: "With LuFo, we created approx. 23,500 additional jobs with compulsory social insurance contributions between 2012 and 2017. A € 100 research grant led directly to additional production of € 200."
"The smart integration of robotics and automation into production process is one of the central issues in the aviation industry worldwide and is also one of the core topics of our research activities here in the ZAL. That’s why we deliberately chose this theme for the ZAL Innovation Days 2019 here in Hamburg - to discuss nation and industry-wide strategies," says Roland Gerhards, CEO ZAL Center for Applied Aerospace Research.