A research project to strengthen German competiveness by developing processes and verification methods for more flexible and secure automated manufacturing has been launched by leading German companies. The SANITAS (“Enabling safer systems by a new collaborative verification methodology across the entire value chain”) project includes nine partners – research institutes and companies from the semiconductor, automotive and industrial automation sectors – that will work under the project management of Infineon Technologies AG to complete research by September 2012.

The SANITAS project is being funded to the sum of €7.3 M by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the German government's High-tech Strategy and its Information and Communication Technology 2020 (ICT 2020) Program. The goal of the ICT 2020 Program is, among others, to extend the development of electronic systems as “enabling” technology for electronics.

The work carried out within the SANITAS project will create a basis for increasing the flexibility of complex microelectronics-aided systems; for example, in production automation and automotive electronics. One goal is to develop a collaborative verification methodology that can be applied beginning as early as in the development phase of system components and carried through the entire value-added chain; from the semiconductor provider to the system manufacturer whose production facilities use the newly developed chips. The benefit of the verification methodology is that faults can be detected even before production of the system components.

The project partners will also be working on new modeling processes that should allow suppliers to develop virtual reference models of their components. Using these models, system manufacturers can “assemble” their production systems on a computer to test and correct them before actually constructing the systems. The developed methods are also intended for use in areas other than industrial automation; for example, in the communication and automotive sectors.