CODE_n15 brings Industry 4.0 to CeBIT with ROBOCHOP



At this year's CeBIT, CODE_n15 will focus entirely on the Internet of Things. Four enormous industrial robots will form the central anchor point. Internet users around the world will be able to access the machines via the website, where a 3D web app will enable them to design small furniture items. These will then be produced by the robots during CeBIT and shipped to the users.

"The interactive robot installation by designers Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram is no futuristic vision, but a fully functioning implementation of Industry 4.0. Instead of just talking about the Internet of Things, we will be clearly demonstrating in CODE_n Hall 16 just how advanced the interlinking of the physical and digital worlds already is," says Ulrich Dietz, CEO of the GFT Group and initiator of CODE_n.

With the aid of a hot-wire cutting tool with coaxial cooling, the robot shapes a polystyrene cube according to the user's instructions. The 50x50x50 centimeter cube can be transformed into anything the user desires -- a stool, coffee table or even abstract object. The user enjoys total creative freedom: the potential and limitations of the production system have all been considered -- the entire process from the user interface on the smartphone, to the robots themselves, and the logistics chain of the physical product on its way back to the user. For once the object has been produced, it is shipped to its creator -- anywhere in the world. From March 16 to 20, 2015, a total of 2,000 cubes will be processed at CeBIT, the world's largest IT fair in Hanover, Germany. Internet users will already be able to access the ROBOCHOP web app from March 4 at and send their designs to the robot production line.

For the development of the robot installation ROBOCHOP, the GFT Group commissioned Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram who already provided the spectacular Big Data visualizations for last year's CODE_n hall. ROBOCHOP is the second robot project of the two designers: in 2010, the highly acclaimed installation OUTRACE in Trafalgar Square allowed Internet users around the world to trace messages in the London sky during the London Design Festival. "While in 2010 OUTRACE gave people control over eight robot arms to convert text messages into dynamic digital media, five years later ROBOCHOP now enables them to create physical objects," says Clemens Weisshaar.

Weisshaar and Kram regard the installation as a precursor of Industry 4.0: in the not-too-distant future, consumers will be able to directly access industrial production equipment. ROBOCHOP is a fully functioning experimental setup of the two designers -- part cutting-edge automation technology and part virtual system -- which can translate three-dimensional ideas into physical objects.

The robot installation is being supported by the CODE_n partners CeBIT, EY, Salesforce, Accenture (in cooperation with Smart Service Welt), EnBW, TRUMPF and KUKA.