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Digital Twin

A TU Wien pilot factory tries out Industry 4.0

TU Wien, the Technical University of Vienna, began production in its Industry 4.0 pilot factory on October 19. With the production of 3D printers, technologies for the production of the future are to be developed and tested.

10 Nov. 2017
Claudia Witte
Pilotfabrik Industrie technologiezentrum
A TU Wien pilot factory tries out Industry 4.0 (picture: Stadt Wien)

An essential element of the research work is represented by a digital twin of the manufacturing plant: the researchers can thus depict all processes of the factory virtually . "Only when you can simulate changes to product processes and run through alternatives in advance can you optimally design the processes," explains Prof. Detlef Gerhard , Head of the Faculty of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

The plant is at the Technology Center Seestadt ; the costs of around EUR 4 million are being shared between the federal government , TU Wien, and participating companies. Austria is currently pushing forward tests of smart factories, primarily with a view to individualized products, and has already put corresponding pilot factories into operation at TU Graz (EUR 2 million) and Johannes Kepler University Linz (another EUR 2 million).

One goal of the Vienna factory is to realize production with a batch size of one, but at the same cost as with large-scale production. The fact that researchers have decided on 3D printers is not least because of their complexity: 3D printers combine mechanical components, electronics and software and can be manufactured in many different versions – these are challenges that the research is making progress on. The hopes are that the results can in turn be transferred later to producing completely different products.