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At the beginning of December, the research partners ( Hahn-Schickard , the FZI Research Center for Computer Science and the University of Applied Sciences Offenburg ) cooperating on the project named NIKI 4.0 published an open-source prototype on the Github platform . Small and medium-sized companies are thus given the opportunity to test an Industry 4.0 environment and assess the advantages that a switch to relevant production could offer. The production plants themselves remain unchanged for the time being. With the help of non-disruptive ad-hoc sensor technology and information couplers, only additional data will be recorded. The adaptation of the production processes based on the knowledge gained is the responsibility of the persons in charge.

The concepts of Industry 4.0 are met with skepticism particularly in smaller companies, especially since implementation usually requires major investments. The German Federal Ministry of Economics offers information and advice on technological change and actively promotes entrepreneurial tests such as those possible within the framework of the NIKI 4.0 project and in cooperation with other research institutions, such as the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology and Automation IPA .