Research is the source of our inspiration

We invest a significant proportion of our revenues in groundbreaking research projects. We work together with partners from the worlds of science and industry on topics that are of key importance for the digital transformation of our customers. At the same time, these research projects offer our employees an opportunity to expand their know-how on the topics of the future relating to digitalization. Our research expertise and innovative capabilities are certified by the seal awarded by the certification body for research grants (BSFZ) of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. This seal is only awarded to companies that have demonstrated that they are engaged in research and development.

VVM: Proof of safety for autonomous driving functions

V&V Methods (VVM) is a consortium project for the validation and verification of highly automated driving functions led by Robert Bosch GmbH and BMW AG and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection. The objective of this project is to develop test procedures and methods that can be used to provide proof of safety for highly automated vehicles in the development process. VVM is part of the VDA's flagship initiative on autonomous driving, which also includes its sister project SET Level.

In the project, PROSTEP has assumed responsibility for the task of providing the project partners with support in the context of defining requirements and transferring the project results to industrial applications. At the Mid-Term event held in March 2022, we presented the concept of a capability-based architecture for automated vehicles in urban environments and introduced the demonstrator for our traceability solution. The solution makes it easier to trace the development and simulation of safety-critical systems by linking the relevant information across systems and provides support for the validation process. Once the project has been completed, the solution will be available on the market as a module in our OpenCLM solution.

ImPaKT: Assessing the impact of changes more easily

ICT-Enabled Model-Based Impact Analysis in Product Development, or ImPaKT for short, is a consortium project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and headed up by the Heinz Nixdorf Institute at the University of Paderborn. The objective of the project is to develop a model-based and AI-supported approach that will allow the technical and financial impact of changes on complex, mechatronic products with numerous variants to be assessed more reliably. The prerequisite for this is the creation of an interdisciplinary development process using tools and methods employed in model-based systems engineering.

In addition to PROSTEP, several software companies, research institutes and industrial companies are involved in the project. As a first step, the project partners have defined a reference architecture for end-to-end model-based system development under the leadership of PROSTEP. Building on this architecture, we have developed certain basic services for performing cross-system impact analyses using artificial intelligence (AI) and have implemented them in our OpenCLM software. The software maps the relationships between requirements, functions and elements in the product structure and supports the introduction of systems engineering in companies by means of a Cameo integration, among other things.

ProProS: Proactive production control for maritime systems

ProProS was a joint project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection and headed up by the Lürssen shipyard group that was successfully completed in May 2023. As part of the project, the project partners developed a new methodology that makes it possible for shipyards to plan their production processes well in advance, control these processes efficiently and respond to disruptions. This is intended to significantly reduce the lead time for outfitting and building ships.

Within the framework of the research project, PROSTEP mapped the methodology in a software demonstrator that is capable of processing up-to-the-minute, real-time data from production. This makes it possible to identify disruptions at an early stage in production planning and make appropriate changes to the planning. The solution enables highly efficient control of the production of complex individual products without driving up the level of manual effort required for production planning.

SET Level: Traceability in a reliable simulation process

In addition to V&V Methods, SET Level was another consortium project on the validation and verification of highly automated driving functions funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection in which PROSTEP was involved. Within the framework of the project, which was brought to a close at the end of 2022, the project partners defined, among other things, a credible simulation process (CSP) and an integrative simulation architecture that enables distributed simulation.

PROSTEP not only provided the project partners with support in the context of defining the requirements but also in the context of transferring the project results to industrial applications. We therefore developed the demonstrator for a traceability solution that maps the CSP in terms of IT, monitors its execution and documents the evaluation of the simulation results. TRACY has become a key component for ensuring the end-to-end digitalization and traceability of simulation-based development processes in our traceability solution OpenCLM.

DigiTwin: Evaluation of 3D scan data with the help of AI

DigiTwin was a research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research that was successfully completed at the end of 2020. In this project, PROSTEP and three partners from industry and the research community developed an innovative service concept with the aim of providing SMEs in particular with more efficient support when creating digital twins of their existing production systems. The result is a process that can be used to automatically convert 3D scan data into simulation-capable digital models.

In the project, PROSTEP developed AI that analyzes point clouds in order to identify components of production systems that are already stored together with their CAD models in a library. Production machines for which there is not yet an equivalent in the library are converted into CAD models and parameterized with the help of feature recognition so that they can be prepared for simulation.

After the project was completed, PROSTEP developed the solution further for the process engineering industry. In this context, it is used to recognize pipework in existing plants. The recognized objects are analyzed and both geometric and position parameters are derived. This allows the identified piping to be fed back into CAD models and the identified piping system to be linked with the P&ID. The solution significantly reduces the time and effort required for the digitalization of existing plants. 

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SAMPL: Chain of trust for additive manufacturing

SAMPL stands for Secure Additive Manufacturing Platform and was a consortium project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (then Energy) that was successfully completed at the end of 2019. In a consortium headed by PROSTEP, the project partners developed an end-to-end chain of trust for the forgery-proof exchange of 3D printing and process data and the unambiguous identification of the printed components, be it using RFID chips or other methods.

SAMPL is based on our secure data exchange solution OpenDXM GlobalX, which we have expanded to include a digital license management based on blockchain technology. It ensures, for example, that external service providers always use the original data when 3D printing spare parts and can only print the permitted number of copies of the part. PROSTEP has patented this functionality. By integrating blockchain technology into OpenDXM GlobalX, we have also laid the foundation for further applications in PLM environments, where it is important to authenticate interactions between partners and document them in the blockchain in a way that prevents them from being modified.