Industry 4.0

Resulting from advanced technological developments, manufacturing processes and production systems are characterized by increasing complexity. At the same time, more and more modern components of information and communication technology are integrated into production technology, which implies that a great amount of various data is already collected today in direct or indirect relation to production.

How can this data be processed and made available as specific information to support complex production scenarios?

Fraunhofer IWU develops and implements concepts for industry-oriented solutions which allow for staff in complex production environments to be more involved in decision-making processes by providing them with the correct information that serves as context-related “knowledge” and as a basis for decisions. These solutions focus on added value in new business models. Modern approaches of Industry 4.0 are implemented to create smart factories in order to tackle the continuously increasing challenges in production. Suitable data and derived information are determined and provided in order to implement essential approaches such as decentralized production control based on local decisions of intelligent or even autonomous components of production technology.

Identification and tracking of components

Individual or batch identification of components and containers is significant for applications in logistics in order to track quality data, but also to realize intelligent flexible variants of machines and plants. For this reason we offer the development of integrated system concepts for tracking materials in production. We choose the ideal technology for automated identification by using our expertise in information technology and mechanical engineering. These identification methods include radio technologies such as connectivity with RFID and Bluetooth, or optical labels, for example barcodes or identification by QR code. In addition we conduct investigations for specific customers’ sites to establish how to implement continuous labeling of parts, detection and evaluation of dynamic data.

Software development

When implementing smart factories, modern software solutions play a significant role in planning, controlling and optimizing production plants. In this context we always consider the entire life cycle of software systems, starting with problem analysis, drafting the software architecture followed by the actual software development, up to installations and maintenance. During this complete cycle we collaborate closely with our customers. Our activities regarding Industry 4.0 in particular focus on merging matching databases, software libraries and application frameworks. Thus we create innovative solutions for process planning, intelligent control of production systems and for acquiring and evaluating production data.

Management of data and information

Currently numerous components of production and production infrastructure already provide various data regarding operation, tracking or resource consumption. Sophisticated information processing is enabled by intelligently linking these data to other IT systems relevant for production. This linkage exceeds pure monitoring and forms the basis for active control of factories. The resulting transparency can be consistently used for increasing efficiency of production processes and resource exploitation.


  • Smart technologies for the factory of the future
  • Data as a resource serves as new production factor
  • Data vs. information – knowledge is prerequisite for added value
  • IT infrastructures and data in production

Solutions by Fraunhofer IWU

  • LINKED-FACTORY – data hub in the smart factory
  • PlantAdapter – component for flexible connection of machines
  • Smart wearable devices – solutions for mobile information supply
  • Context-based information supply
  • Localization in production environments
  • Digital planning of E³ production

Reference projects

  • SmARPro: virtual technologies for the factory of the future
  • Humans in production supported by MOBILE-IT
  • futureTEX: development of processes and structures for designing smart factories in the textile industry, derivation of applications typical for Industry 4.0
  • Performance indicators for mass production plants
  • Intelligent press hardening
  • Twittering machine tools: predictive maintenance of industrial plants

  • Production technology increasingly characterized by integrated modern components of information and communication technology
  • “Data as resource” with increasing importance for continuously augmenting production transparency
  • To derive new information on this basis
  • Integration of data managed in individual systems, multi-valent data usage
  • Innovative solutions for problem-oriented evaluation of data relevant for production, which exceeds the actual motive regarding data acquisition
  • Determination of new information by using extended/integrated databases
  •  “From BigData to SmartData”

New approaches are required to manage the new level of complexity: concepts of Industry 4.0

Factory organization

  • Simulation studies on material flow (also including energy flow)
  • Analyses of value streams
  • Planning of logistics / production system
  • Analysis of capacity and bottlenecks, optimization

Energy and resource efficiency

  • Consultations on energy / resource efficiency
  • Design of energy-efficient processes
  • Energy supply concepts
  • Visualization of energy data

Data and information in production

  • SmartData – acquisition, management and evaluation of large data volumes
  • Software engineering in industrial quality (Java, .NET, etc.)
  • Solutions for determining indicators (TEEP, OEE, etc.) and condition-oriented maintenance
  • Product tracking, use of auto-ID solutions

Human-centered production

  • Assistance systems/mobile IT
  • Studies on ergonomics and time management (MTM, REFA)
  • Customer specific trainings
  • Web-based development of apps

Machine technology

  • Faro laser scanner for 2D/3D detection of building outlines and inventory
  • EnDav mobile (mobile measuring kit in collaboration with Sentron)
  • Volume flow meter for gases and liquids
  • Indoor navigation
  • Demonstration unit for applied auto-ID technologies
  • IT infrastructure that can be virtualized (I4.0-Backend)


  • Plant Simulation
  • Process Designer
  • visTABLE
  • EMA Editor for human work
  • Tarakos VR logistic planner
  • Platform for data and services LINKED FACTORY