A smart factory is a manufacturing system, which is flexible and resource-efficient as well as adaptive to humans and can therefore be operated intuitively. It is a highly complex system consisting of technical components that even incorporate intelligence. We firmly believe that we will have smart factories soon. The paradigm of “Internet of Things” is making inroads on all areas of daily life: Whether in the home, in cars, or in production, embedded systems are rapidly becoming our daily companions. Coffee makers, toasters, and even plants can “have their own voice” and be responsive. This hidden computer systems, which are connected to the Internet are working to make users’ lives easier. In future production systems the plants control themselves and work pieces are able to advise the production system how they have to be processed. This makes production much more flexible and allowing mass customization.
As part of the German government’s high-tech strategy the trend of merging production technology with information technology has been termed “Industry 4.0” – the fourth industrial revolution. The technological platform at the core of Industry 4.0 is the Internet of Things (IOT), which largely eliminates the distinction between the virtual and the real world.
Since 2005 we have been working specifically on ICT-based automation technologies to realize the factory of the future. In 2014, as we continue to pursue the same objective, the proven research and demonstration platform “Lemgo Smart Factory” is evolving into an intelligent factory of the future: