Production companies still struggle transforming their shopfloor operations into digitalized, decentralized networks of cyber-physical production systems (CPPS). This is due to the high complexity of these systems, making their effective and efficient design a difficult task leading to high risk and uncertainty. A number of recent studies have identified the lack of a suitable methodology for CPPS design as a major obstacle. Recommended extensions of current systems engineering methods include:
These issues have been declared in a 2018 Industry 4.0 study as “primary research needs” to be addressed by 2025, and establish the principal targets of the research proposed in DESTINY. The project follows an interdisciplinary approach that amalgamates methods from two separate disciplines: design thinking, including its foundations in the scientific study of design, and (cyber-physical) production systems. Such an approach is required as common design thinking techniques – such as collaborating and empathizing with customers/users, working in interdisciplinary teams, and rapidly producing tangible prototypes – cannot be easily mapped onto CPPS design due to its highly constrained technical environment and the different mindsets of systems engineers and design thinkers. DESTINY applies a rigorous scientific methodology to develop a framework and methods for CPPS design thinking, and to theoretically and empirically validate the results. The research will thus produce a theory and toolset for effectively and efficiently develop CPPS, helping to accelerate the digital transformation of the production industry.