Lead project E³-Produktion

© Fraunhofer IWU
Lead project E³-Produktion


With its lead project E³-Produktion, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is striving to improve resource efficiency. This demands a paradigm shift from “maximum profit with minimal capital outlay” to production with “maximum added value and minimal resource consumption”.

The aim of the project is to align the production process, factory and man in an optimum way. An E³ factory is one that manufactures goods using energy and resources efficiently, integrates man into the production process and has zero emissions. For this reason, the project is divided into three separate research fields:

Solutions developed within these research fields will then be combined to form a fourth work package titled “Integration”.

In order to achieve the project aim, all future production processes have to be capable of producing the same or higher yield but with the use of less energy and resources. At the same time, processes have to be both assessable and plannable. An E³ factory is realized by optimally planning and controlling material, energy and information flows.


Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA are collaborating with other Fraunhofer institutes on three sub-projects within the scope of the lead project E³-Produktion.


E1.6: Ultrashort Process Chains

In this work package, scientists are developing new, more efficient and more ecological processes to meet current requirements.

Up till now, there have been no models which take resources and ecological aspects of processes into account as well as costs. The scientists are working on an evaluation tool which will enable the comparison of alternative process chains from these perspectives. The tool will incorporate procedures such as DIN 8580 and other previous or new models. The focus is on ultrashort process chains.


I1: Information Management

In production and logistics, a particular focus is on vertical integration (from ERP right down to sensors/actuators) as well as horizontal integration (along the value chain): these aim at reducing the huge efforts currently required to make customer-specific adaptions and integrate heterogeneous IT systems.

The aim of the E3 sub-project" Information Management" is to realize a cloud-based trading and operating platform for manufacturing and logistics services. The platform is based on the existing developments "LinkSmart", "Logistics Mall" and "Virtual Fort Knox" developed by three Fraunhofer institutes - the Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT, Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML and Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA.

Thanks to a modular architecture comprising online market place and usage environment, centralized user administration and a layer for connecting up smart objects from the shopfloor, the individual IT support required by the company concerned can be ordered and provided.


E3.2: Assistive Systems for Production

Three Fraunhofer institutes - the Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF, Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK and IPA - are cooperating to develop solutions for integrating man into the production process through:

  • Assistance by providing workers with information, e.g. in assembly,
  • Process feedback by checking completed manual tasks
  • Power and precision assistance
  • Safe man-robot collaboration

The sub-project E3.2 is one of four main demonstrators within the E³ lead project.

In E3.2, Fraunhofer IPA is developing body-worn lifting aids to relieve strain on the human body when handling heavy objects. Application scenarios are generally based on the fact that humans are much more flexible than industrial robots. Since man is linked to these machines, a particular focus is the operator being able to control the lifting aid intuitively. Algorithms are being developed and thin-film sensors tested and evaluated in order identify the operator’s intentions. A wall-mounted experimental platform installed at IPA is being used for this purpose.



Efficient – zero emissions – human integration

  • Safeguard and reinforce Germany‘s pioneering role and strength in manufacturing engineering
  • Maximum added value from scarce and ever-more expensive energy and raw materials
  • Full use of materials recycled in a closed loop economy


Project partners/ sponsors

Project partners of the leading project E³:

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT
  • Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft


Fraunhofer E3 – Assistance Systems for Production