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The maturity model has been developed by SEF Smart Electronic Factory e.V. ., a non-profit association from Limburg, in cooperation with the Mittelhessen University of Applied Sciences. It is intended to let SMEs accurately evaluate their level of digitization, giving them a solid basis on which to plan strategies for implementing further Industry 4.0 policies. After surveying their current situation, a target situation is defined so that clear objectives can be drawn up.

The model is constructed along similar lines to the Industry 4.0 Toolbox from the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), which is a guide for SMEs and divided into the categories of machinery, data and IT. With the help of the maturity model, it should be possible to identify and harmonize legacy IT structures. The model is partly based on findings from two real-life factories where SEF Smart Electronic Factory e.V. researched and developed Industry 4.0 applications.