On March 9, 2022, the virtual tour of the LPS Learning and Research Factory at Bochum University marked the start of the “Industrie 4.0 Technology Transfer” event series, which was organized by ProduktionNRW in cooperation with the Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Center Siegen, Bochum site.
During the tour, the individual stations of the Learning and Research Factory (LFF) were explained and it was presented which possibilities every company has to take first or further steps in the direction of digital production. The LFF is equipped with laboratories, machine tools, industrial robots and measurement technology to vividly demonstrate Industry 4.0, the use of robots in manufacturing or even lean management. In addition to state-of-the-art machines, old machine types are also deliberately present in the LFF to represent a typical machine park. This makes it possible to show that the digitization steps are also possible for older type plants and that the purchase of new models does not always have to be considered.
In terms of content, the event was based on the digital maturity model “Adaptation” developed by the Chair of Production Systems (LPS). The maturity model compares the target and actual state and thereby shows strengths and further development needs with regard to digital competencies of companies. It also helps to develop competence development programs and individual future strategies for companies. The maturity model is based on existing models such as the VDMA’s Industry 4.0 Guidelines, the Industry 4.0 study by the Technical University of Darmstadt and Acatech’s Maturity Index 4.0.
The digitalization possibilities were clearly explained with the help of practical examples carried out by the LFF in cooperation with industry partners. A best-practice example showed how the documentation of a mechanical engineering company was digitized. The initial situation was that the company had exclusively created, maintained and assigned documents manually. After defining the necessary measures, a concept for digitizing and partially automating the documentation was developed, followed by a prototype for creating and managing the product-specific documentation. The second practical example showed a manufacturer of semi-finished metal products using artificial intelligence to check the quality of incoming goods.
The learning and research factory is well suited for participants in a technology tour, as industry-related solutions can be shown and discussed without interrupting the ongoing production of a manufacturing plant.
Technology Transfer Line
The content focus of the technology transfer series is on communicating a maturity model for concretizing and determining the state of companies in the digital transformation. The model will be supplemented by application options and methods for implementing human-robot collaboration (HRC) and artificial intelligence (AI) in the production context.
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 for networking, informing and marketing companies, institutions and networks among themselves and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).