FHWS: I4.0 Development and Application Environments for small and medium-sized Businesses

Mon, 21 Jan 2019 | Praxis, Forschung, Wirtschaftsingenieurwesen
FHWS successfully classified as I4.0 test environment: Partners with research institutions and application formulations

Small and medium-sized enterprises face particular challenges in the implementation of new concepts and ideas in the area of Industry 4.0, as they lack the structure of large enterprises. They do not have a test environment and no half or full engineering position can be assigned for the extensive application process in order to receive funding. The University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt  has successfully achieved the classification as an I4.0 test environment and is able to provide professional support to SME's.

In the context of the funding measure "Industry 4.0 Test Environments - Mobilisation of SMEs for Industry 4.0" of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt with its research facilities is the regional contact. The professors Dr. Jan Schmitt (I4.0 professorship, development and application environments I4.0), Dr. Bastian Engelmann (starter kits I4.0, Industrial IoT and production automation) and Dr. Christoph Bunsen (c-factory, networked production) support small and medium-sized companies in developing ideas and project drafts under real conditions, formulating and preparing funding applications - especially for companies whose order books are full and who cannot release employees for researching and formulating detailed applications. The funding measure is also open to micro-enterprises, such as Mozy's regional start-up, which has expressed interest in the test environments.

Prerequisites for a corresponding funding measure are projects on the topics of Industry 4.0, Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), or the Internet of Things, which deal with the development, testing or further development of products, processes or digital services. The company should have a maximum of 1,000 employees and generate an annual turnover of up to 100 million euros. Funding will be provided for a period of at least three to a maximum of twelve months on the deadlines of 15 March, 15 July and 15 November 2019. The maximum funding amount is 100,000 euros per project with a maximum 50 percent share of funding.

The University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt  provides numerous interdisciplinary development and application-oriented laboratory environments for the digitization of industrial production processes (FHWS Laboratories). Professor Dr. Christoph Bunsen offers the "c-factory", a concept factory with networked process and production plants, robots and logistics systems and with the seven dimensions networking, Internet of Things, flexibility and variants, human-robot collaboration, additive manufacturing, big data, and augmented reality. The networking of all production processes is realized through database structures and made usable via a website. In concrete applications, users of the test environment can produce a product in variants. The production sequence and the necessary parameters are determined by the customer order and linked to the product by a QR code. In this way, the product "controls" production. In addition, all relevant process and product data are stored on the IoT page of the individual product and can be retrieved at any time and from any location (c-factory).

The I4.0 starter kits from Professor Dr. Bastian Engelmann for networked production and the use of new technologies to improve products or processes form another mobile test environment at FHWS: According to Engelmann, an integrated I4.0 automation infrastructure is available, each of which is set up within a compact transportable case. Each case contains an industrial controller with IoT gateway with optional I/O modules for industrial sensors, a linear axis with motor and compact inverter, a wireless sensor array and a graphical prototyping environment for the web browser on an integrated RaspberryPi as well as a miniature professional router for connection to local networks and optional LTE modem (starter kits).

For more information, see Development and Application Environments.

Test environments

FHWS i40