04.05.2016 | MSc Operations Management

Industry 4.0

Logistics Learning Factory at CENIT booth at Hanover fair

Logistics Learning Factory at CENIT booth at Hanover fair

Von: Jörg Bauer

The numerous visitors of CENIT AG’s stand at this year’s fair in Hannover had the opportunity to watch the presentation of a demonstrator of the ESB Business School Logistik-Lernfabrik, Reutlingen University, as well as they were able to inform themselves about the applied technologies.


Beate Brenner, ESB Business School, presented the demonstrator „Personalized product development- from design to production- in the context of industry 4.0”, developed by scientists and students of ESB Business School  in the winter semester 2015/2016.


In the age of digital transformation, the market demand for individualized products is continuously increasing. This challenged the Team of ESB Business School and CENIT AG to develop a solution that enabled a more agile and innovative response to customer needs, as well as it should help coordinate the ever increasing product variety. Moreover, this solution should enable a concept development closer to the customer.  


ESB Business School, Reutlingen University has a realistic and physical facility for teaching, research and demonstration at its disposal, which is called the  ESB Business School Logistik-Lernfabrik. This facility, which is currently installed on an area of 350 m2 and is headed by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Vera Hummel, constitutes a production plant with all essential production and logistic processes necessary for a highly variable batch and single item production between goods intake and issue in a highly innovative infrastructure.  This infrastructure currently involves flexible, mobile goods intake, issue and supermarket storages, as well as six ergonomic, manual assembly stations and two driverless transport systems of BeeWaTec Systems used for material deliveries.

In the area of continuous conveyors, the facility offers a modular, intelligent and self-controlled roll conveyor system of Gebhardt Fördertechnik. This system is one of the first industry-suitable innovations in the area of cyber-physical material conveyor systems.  Handling tasks are supported by a two-armed Rethink Robotics-robot. Furthermore, a Pick-by-Light-System of WIBOND, an industrial communication system called IO-Link of BALLUFF and several Siemens-systems are available.  For the purpose of capacity planning and task coordination, a Manufacturing Self Execution System (MSES) is used, which was developed in cooperation the software company BECOS and is continuously being improved. This system is based on a cloud- and task-oriented system infrastructure and was especially developed at the Lernfabrik for variable scenarios in the context of Industry 4.0.


In a project of six months, this real factory was enriched by tools of the digital factory- 3DEXPERIENCE® platform, which is based on cloud and applications. It was developed by Dassault Systèmes and supports companies in the digital display of their business processes in the entire product life cycle, thereby enabling a continuous engineering process.  The platform intelligently connects many business departments over the entire value chain, for example the marketing, sales and product development functions. Based on a unified user surface, the Business Experience Platform offers individually adapted software solutions for every business department.


After having finished the project, the researchers Beate Brenner, Jörg Bauer, Fabian Ranz and Jan Schuhmacher and the professors Vera Hummel and Daniel Palm now have a holistic demonstrator of an operable physical factory and of a digital engineering environment with collaborative planning and simulation platform at their disposal.

On-going and planned research projects in the context of Industry 4.0 will certainly amplify this demonstrator.