The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) researches and develops solutions for the manufacturing industry in various fields, starting with site and factory planning, processes and procedures within production and the indirect areas through to production technology in the clean room, surface technology or even automation technology. Within the framework of its activities in this production environment, the IPA recognised the important significance of the production factor ENERGY years ago. Therefore, the IPA has a broad knowledge of the different energy sources and forms of energy in production. Key areas of expertise are therefore in the field of energy system planning, the design of heating and cooling supplies, sector coupling and efficiency enhancement of generation and consumption systems, DC grids in production and data-based optimisation of the energy system, e.g. by means of AI-based methods for forecasting or decision support. The IPA contributes these key areas of expertise to research projects such as the Copernicus project "SynErgie" (https://synergie-projekt.de/) as well as to solutions for specific tasks of industrial companies.
In the competence field of DC grids, the IPA has been researching and developing methods for introducing DC grids, planning and designing grid management since the preliminary study in 2015 and the subsequent DC-INDUSTRIE and DC-INDUSTRIE2 projects. This has led to the development of competences that are reflected in a range of services for industry (https://www.ipa.fraunhofer.de/en/expertise/efficiency-systems/electrical-supply.html). This range of services includes, for example, the analysis and development of a transformation strategy from AC to DC supply, design of DC grids in production, the design of grid control as well as simulative grid investigations, e.g. for the assessment of stability, robustness, selectivity of the safety devices and the safety of operation. Various companies already rely on the IPA's expertise in the field of DC grids.