Easing access for SMEs
Transfer of practical knowledge: Putting Industrie 4.0 research into practice
The economic strength of Germany depends on the manufacturing SME sector. There are hundreds of operators in Germany who use Industrie 4.0 technology in manufacturing processes and demonstrate the added value of digital solutions every day. The map of the practical examples provides a current overview.
Furthermore, there are numerous small and medium-sized mechanical and plant engineering companies that are already developing new components for Industrie 4.0. They are looking for realistic, complex and interconnected testbeds where they can test their latest developments in a realistic environment in order to prepare them for production. Likewise, the operators of new digital technologies require appropriate and entry-barrier-free ways to test innovative system approaches and networked business models and bring them to market maturity.
The Industrie 4.0 research map shows more than 500 sites where funded Industrie 4.0 projects are being carried out in Germany. There are a number of testbeds at specialist centres at universities and research institutions in Germany where complex production and logistics systems are tested under realistic conditions and developed further. Networking the testbeds enables distributed production and application processes to be simulated realistically across several test environments.
The map of testing centres and centres of excellence [only in German] shows the location of research and development institutions throughout Germany where Industrie 4.0 applications can be tested.
The members of Plattform Industrie 4.0 want to optimise access to existing testbeds for businesses, especially SMEs, and successively develop the infrastructure available in the testbeds with a comprehensive range of advisory and coordination services.
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) central coordination office
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports the testing of innovative Industrie 4.0 components by SMEs at existing testbeds with a specific funding announcement. In addition, the BMBF has establish a central contact and coordination office under the direction of Prof. Thomas Bauernhansel at the University of Stuttgart. It will advise SMEs in particular on the selection of the most appropriate testbeds for specific projects within the framework of the funding announcement. Furthermore, it will scientifically process the overall outcomes and make them available to the specialist public.
This measure, which is aimed at component, machine and plant manufacturers, complements the centres of excellence funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The public sector is providing a comprehensive proposition for the evaluation of innovative Industrie 4.0 approaches for both equipment manufacturers and operators in combination with the centres of excellence, which are aimed primarily at the manufacturing industry as the operators of machine and plant equipment.
National contact and coordination office “I 4.0 active for SMEs”
Dr.-Ing. Dominik Lucke
Institut für Industrielle Fertigung und Fabrikbetrieb (IFF)
Telephone: +49 (0) 711 970 - 1897
http://www.i4kmu.de [only in German]
Labs Network Industrie 4.0 e.V.
The government policy actions are accompanied by an initiative created by companies and associations from Plattform Industrie 4.0 to provide appropriate information to interested parties in as many industries and manufacturing technology fields as possible. The association “Labs Network Industrie 4.0 e.V.” was founded as a one-stop shop for the coordination of the different approaches. It supports companies in the initiation of Industrie 4.0 projects, pools results from the testbeds and forwards them to relevant competitive structures, e.g. in the field of standardisation and international cooperation.