The automated classroom - an Industry 4.0 learning environment

Project to develop an industry 4.0 'Learning Factory'

The aim of this project is to create a coherent Industry 4.0 learning environment making the challenges and opportunities of digitization in the interaction of the individual components in industry tangible for students.



Students of various study courses (especially Master of Mechanical Engineering, Bachelor of IBS, Master of Industrial Informatics, Business Administration) should set up and operate an Industry 4.0 learning environment (platform) (see figure). The structure includes the commissioning of the individual production and IT devices as well as the development and configuration of Industry 4.0-compatible interfaces to be able to combine the individual systems flexibly for larger production scenarios, as well as the implementation of different product scenarios as building blocks in a supply chain. For example, this also includes the design of products with a lot size of one and new market offers resulting from the various technical possibilities.

The project has been planned with an implementation time of approximately 2 years and should have an application time of approximately 10 years.

Current Participants

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Armando Colombo

Jeffrey Wermann, M.Eng.

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Agnes Pechmann (responsible person)

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Schüning

Heike Voß, M.Eng.

Maximilian Zarte, M.Eng.

Jonas Schwarz, M.Eng.

Dipl.-Ing. Sebastian Setz

Gayathiri Sivanesan, B.Eng.

Philipp Heeren, M.Eng.

Student Works and Projects


The digital age brings with it a constantly increasing networking of the world. The digitalization affects all branches and training areas and thus all study courses at our university. Special attention is paid to the topic of digitalization in industry. The fourth industrial revolution should ensure the competitiveness of German industries by being able to react to increased demands in terms of production time, price, and individualization of the products with the help of appropriate technologies. Technologically, the aim is to develop novel IT system architectures in which the individual industrial components are regarded as so-called cyber-physical systems and traditional communication hierarchies are broke down. 


In progress:

The research project included the development and configuration of Industry 4.0-compatible interfaces in order to flexibly combine the individual systems. As for now, the interface for laser processing has been implemented; the next step is the integration of the 3D printer.

Currently, a desktop laser engraver and two collaborative robots from Universal Robot are being integrated. In the course of this integration different physical systems will be tested and the existing interface from the laser to other M2M applications will be extended. In addition, a small web shop will be set up that simplifies the ordering of customer-specific products and provides various real-time information for customers and other stakeholders.


The ERP-System is a core component of the IT system, in which production orders are entered and managed. It also serves all other systems as a source of information about open orders and current production steps to be processed. This information can be retrieved via REST web services without any knowledge of the underlying ERP system or a database. In the present implementation, the REST interface is based on the database of the ERP system called "Transfact". A software adapter is developed to implement all relevant web services for the query and feedback of product and order data and to translates these into corresponding SQL queries to the database.