Sustainable production and digitalization

Companies that want to incorporate the topic of digitization and sustainability into their production processes often see this as a major challenge at first. What does this mean in concrete terms for operations, how can such a new production environment look like, what will improve? To illustrate this, a team from the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer, led by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Agnes Pechmann, has started a project that shows exactly this transformation.



In this project, a physical production model is shown which is connected to management systems such as an ERP-System or simulations via information and communication technology. It demonstrates:

  • how production changes as a result of current developments in digitalization and
  • how these changes can be used to better plan and control production operationally, including sustainable aspects.


The importance of sustainable development is increasing (keyword: sustainability) of products and processes in operative and strategic corporate planning. In addition, the digitalization of production (keyword: Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things (IoT)) offers numerous new chances for sustainability in companies. Production data can be provided to digital services to improve production, also according to sustainability requirements.

This development will be shown by a physical production model consisting of different Fischertechnik modules.


The model shows a shop floor production consisting of a high-bay warehouse; machining centers with conveyor belts; robots with pneumatic and electric grippers and an optical quality control. The orders are produced with a lot size of one. Production data are offered to digital services with the help of measuring devices and digital interfaces.

The transparency of the system (from process level to management level) is made possible by communication between the individual elements of the system (e.g., the Fischertechnik modules and the various information-bearing levels). Each Fischertechnik module is equipped with a TXT controller, which does not support an interface for direct communication with a database (an Oracle(c) DB of the ERP system is used as the database.) All TXT controllers in the Fischertechnik production system are therefore extended by one Raspberry Pi (mini-computer) each. This allows communication between, for example, the individual processing centers and the ERP system. By extending each module with a Rapsberry Pi, the following, among other things, can be achieved:

  • a decentralized control and
  • a modular structure with a plug & play function

of the production system.

The individual machining centres are integrated into a service architecture, which is gradually extended within the project by sensors and measuring devices for data acquisition and services, such as simulations.

In process, the project started in 2017



Student projects and final theses

Oliver Ennenga (IBS): Entwicklung und Umsetzung eines Demonstrators für Industrie 4.0 und nachhaltige Produktion (Bachelorarbeit SS2017)

Johannes Möller (Energieeffizienz) und Hendrik Klasen (Energieeffizienz): Planung eines Produktionssystems für ein Fischertechnikmodell (Hausarbeit für Vorlesung Nachhaltige Produktion WS17/18)

Manuel Grote (Industrial Informatics), Malte Rhauderwiek (Industrial Informatics) und Gayathiri Sivanesan (Maschinenbau): Umsetzung einer Industrie 4.0-konformen Schnittstellenimplementierung zur Vernetzung eines Produktionssystems mit einem ERP-System (Technisches Projekt SS18)

Studierende des 2. Semesters des Studiengangs Energieeffizienz: Aufbau eines physischen Demonstrators für Industrie 4.0 I(Vorlesung Projektmanagement SS18)

Ralf Holderbaum (Energieeffizienz): Konzept und Implementierung eines Energiemessystems (Hausarbeit für Vorlesung Nachhaltige Produktion SS18)



Prof. Dr.-Ing. Agnes Pechmann

Research assistants

Maximilian Zarte (Department of Mechanical Engineering)

Jeffrey Wermann (Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)

Philipp Heeren (Department of Mechanical Engineering)

Student assistants

Nikolas Künkel (IBS)

Malte Rhauderwiek (Industrial Informatics)


First results show that communication with other systems is possible by upgrading each machining centers with one Raspberry Pi. From this result, it was possible to derive procedures for how to proceed with the implementation of "Industry 4.0" solutions. First results of the project can be taken from the current publications. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the project.