On May 30, 2022, the Lab Tour “Industry 4.0 & AI- Insights into the production of tomorrow” took place at the Siegen Smart Demonstration Factory (SDFS) on the Buschhütten Campus in Kreuztal. The aim of this event was to get to know the Industry 4.0 activities of the SDFS. Under the motto “We produce. Future.”, universities and industrial companies come together at the Buschhütten campus to jointly implement and benefit from the digital transformation in production technology.
As an introduction to the topic, Judith Binzer, speaker of the VDMA Forum Industrie 4.0, gave an overview of the VDMA activities in the field of Industrie 4.0 and artificial intelligence. In exciting presentations by Prof. Peter Burggräf, holder of the Chair of International Production Engineering and Management (IPEM) at the University of Siegen, this Lab Tour gave an insight into the working methods of the SDFS Smart Demonstration Factory Siegen. Specifically, three perspectives of the collaboration were highlighted:
- the university as developer of innovative solutions and generator of the latest research findings
- the industry as a practical user and further developer of innovative solutions
- the SDFS as a link between research and industry and operator of a demonstration factory in which marketable products are manufactured in a real environment.
In addition, a tour was given of selected solutions for digitizing and automating production that have been developed in collaboration with SDFS partners. The content was diverse and ranged, for example, from indoor localization systems for precise recording of material flows, to practical implementations for the use of artificial intelligence and 5G in production, to digital assistance systems for machine operators. The event was rounded off with a presentation on ways to be able to operate tomorrow’s production economically in the future under changing external conditions.
Buschhütten campus – benefiting from spatial and technical proximity
With the Siegen Smart Demonstration Factory, which is based at Campus Buschhütten, more than 35 regional companies from the manufacturing industry are already working together for this purpose and creating innovations ranging from Industry 4.0 started with the topic of 5G to artificial intelligence and sustainable production. University partners are the University of Siegen and RWTH Aachen University.
With four centers, the Buschhütten Campus, officially inaugurated on April 1, 2022, serves the educational categories of research, transfer, demonstration and production, teaching, education and training. Covering an area of around 5000 m², the campus serves on the one hand as a real laboratory and on the other as a real workshop. The four centers are the SDFS Smarte Demonstrationsfabrik Siegen, the SLB Smarte Lernfabrik Siegen, the PROTECH Institute of the University of Siegen and the WZL/ ACAM Aachen Center of Additive Manufacturing of the RWTH.
The aim of the campus is to enable collaboration at all levels – from vocational training to basic research – and to advance future technologies in the field of digital transformation, artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing. The inhibition thresholds for professional exchange should be as low as possible for students, trainees, scientists and companies alike to work on projects and try out new things.
The event was offered by ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the competence network of mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is carried out by VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform to connect, inform and market companies, institutions and networks among each other and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).