The Demonstration Factory Aachen (DFA)

Directly experience and understand Industry 4.0 applications

Industry 4.0 - where theory becomes reality

How can the concept of networked production be implemented in practice today? How can Industry 4.0 be carried over to small and medium-sized companies?

The Demonstration Factory in Aachen (DFA) connects practical research and innovative industry concepts and annually gives roughly 15,000 visitors insight into the production facilities of tomorrow.

On the campus of RWTH Aachen University, SICK, together with notable partners, is committed to showing how the concept of the networked value creation chain can be transferred to small, medium-sized and large companies today. Using practical examples, the so-called use cases, we and our partners from the Center Connected Industry in the Demonstration Factory in Aachen show how easy it is to take the first steps toward the connected production facilities of the future.

In the Demonstration Factory in Aachen, SICK shows how intelligent sensors are being used to develop the first practical applications of Industry 4.0, all without necessitating the use of fully-automated production facilities or robotic installations. We see the heart of Industry 4.0 in the networking of production and logistics, which enables generation of added value from data.

Our use cases - directly experience Industry 4.0

With the so-called use cases which SICK has already implemented in the Demonstration Factory, you can see in practice how, using partially manual, partially machine manufacturing, an Industry 4.0 application is created little by little with the addition of smart sensor systems and your use of data. As a member of the Center Connected Industry, the focus is on a wide range of collaborative projects: Designing the future together.

Competence Center 5G.NRW With its 5G mobile network, the Demonstration Factory in Aachen is ahead of its time. In an industrial environment, it shows innovations from the areas of production, logistics and mounting. And all this takes place in a production environment in which real orders are carried out under cost, time and quality pressure. Using our practical application examples, you can experience how easy it is to take the first steps toward the connected production facilities of the future.

5G use case: "AGV Safe Crossing"
The "AGV Safe Crossing" use case deals with the topic of wireless communication. Wireless communication is becoming tremendously important, in particular in the field of automated transport systems in which data has to be exchanged between the vehicle and infrastructure in real time, or in applications in which no classical network infrastructure exists due to restrictions at the location. The new 5G wireless technology opens up completely new areas of application due to high data transmission rates and very low latency. 

Smart production in Aachen: The Demonstration Factory and e.GO Life

The Demonstration Factory is Aachen is the birthplace of the StreetScooter electric vehicles and e.GO Life, whose production was initiated, tested and prepared for series manufacture with different partners in the Demonstration Factory. Although the production of electric car manufacturer e.GO was relocated to the company’s own factory today, e.GO remains a driver for innovative Industry 4.0 concepts which are picked up as ideas for new uses cases by the Demonstration Factory, the Center Connected Industry and SICK. SICK is also providing support in the manufacture of the e.GO Life in the new production facilities with Industry 4.0 applications. These can be used to see what complete Industry 4.0 production facilities, which are not bound to a certain sector and could be implemented in any industrial manufacturing facilities, would look like.

As a contract manufacturer working for e.GO, among others, the DFA flexibly manufactures products with a large number of manual and partially-automated production and assembly steps. SICK, a collaboration partner and member of the Center Connected Industry, therefore offers the option of implementing new and innovative solutions for general industrial application cases and production concepts in typical production facilities. The goal is to design the complex production processes in a simple and transparent manner with the preparation of specific applications. This concerns processes from material procurement, production and marketing to the sale of the finished product. Current use cases and practical production scenarios create the results on whose basis the industrial value creation chain quickly shows discernible added value.

Industry 4.0 with sensor intelligence

As building blocks of the future, sensors act in an intelligent manner by further processing the collected measurement data and autonomously transmitting it. In a networked factory, every sensor, every machine, and every human involved can communicate with and among one another at any time. This information exchange doesn’t end at the factory gates, however. The interplay of edge and cloud also allows production and data management from and to the outside. This intensive cooperation between technology and humans makes the process more transparent, productive and profitable.

Read more about the decisive advantages and the autonomous digital production and control processes companies are opening in our trade articles titled "The Networked Factory".


SICK Vertriebs-GmbH
Willstätterstr. 30
40549 Düsseldorf

Demonstration Factory Aachen (Center Connected Industry)
Campus-Boulevard 57
52074 Aachen
Website (german only): Demonstration Factory Aachen

Workshop at the Demonstration Factory in Aachen (DFA)

With the one-day workshop at the Demonstration Factory in Aachen, SICK is making Industry 4.0 accessible now. The real production environment offers an ideal basis for experiencing the newest findings on organizing and designing modern factory operations in an innovative and practical manner. Your benefits at a glance: 

  1. Develop a clear picture of industry 4.0 based on concrete applications.
  2. Gain momentum and develop ideas on how you can implement Industry 4.0 in your own company.
  3. Discuss your plans with experts and advance your projects.

Flyer: Starting point Industry 4.0 - digital value creation with SICK