Industrie 4.0: Kreativität und Innovation 1

Industry 4.0: new teaching and research factory for digitisation

Natanja Christina Pascottini,

FH JOANNEUM’s Smart Production Lab opened its doors on 7 March 2018. A former factory building has been transformed into one of Austria’s largest training and research facilities for Industry 4.0 and digitisation with support from the municipality of Kapfenberg. It is open to renowned industrial partners, researchers and students as well as the general public: the integrated FabLab is a place where people can give free reign to their inventiveness.

Research and teaching to ensure optimal and secure use of data in industry – this is what it is all about at the new Smart Production Lab at FH JOANNEUM in Kapfenberg. The focus is on the vertical and horizontal integration of IT and data as well as data security. Vertical means from the management system to production, while horizontal means from the supplier to the company and customers. There is still potential to exploit in both areas in many companies. To date, 21 cooperation partners and sponsors have confirmed their support including NTS, Cisco, Hoerbiger and SAP. voestalpine BÖHLER Edelstahl is also on board as explained by CFO Claus Mittendorfer: “Networking with students is important for us. The Smart Production Lab is also an important part of the puzzle when it comes to developing our digitisation ecosystem. Experts from the company will be contributing as speakers at workshops and seminars. We will be supporting degree theses and internship semesters as well as using the integrated FabLab to train our own employees. We will also be developing joint research projects with FH JOANNEUM”.

In so-called use cases, researchers at the Smart Production Lab will address questions relating to the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality, big data, additive manufacturing and IT security. “This allows us to pursue the goal of supporting and shaping digital transformation processes, especially in medium-sized companies in Austria. We want to play a part in strengthening competitiveness and the business location,” says the Head of the Institute of Industrial Management, Martin Tschandl.

There is also a place for inventors and start-up entrepreneurs at the Smart Production Lab. At the FabLab, an open workshop, they can bring their ideas to life using the latest production processes. Here they can manufacture and machine their own parts – only paying for the materials. This simplifies the process and paves the way for producing prototypes.

The Smart Production Lab houses another two special labs: a Next Gen Lab in cooperation with SAP for developing new business models and ideas and a Security Lab covering industrial IT security.