Students in park (c) Jonas Kron


Model factory according to Industry 4.0 principles

Industry 4.0 means the smart interconnection of humans, machines, and industrial processes. The integration of production and state-of-the-art information and communication technology enables products tailored according to customer needs.

The innovative c-factory concept at THWS allows students to experience the principles of Industry 4.0 in practice and to train with intelligently networked production processes in a real-life scenario.

Intelligently interconnecting people, machinery and processes – this is how Industry 4.0 is described. Interconnection, however, is only one of many aspects. The Internet of Things not only enables an exchange of, but also the communication between information.
There is a trend towards a customisation of products. This is ensured through flexible production. In the future, tasks will be carried out together by a Human-Robot Collaboration. Additive Manufacturing enables to not only customise parts, but also produce them in geometric forms not possible before. Augmented Reality brings together the real and the virtual world, for example, to simulate new products in familiar environments. Big Data focuses on managing and interpreting data that are produced in each of the aspects mentioned above.

Graphic representation of the seven categories of Industry 4.0: “Networks”, “Internet of Things”, “Flexible Production”, “Human-Computer Collaboration”, “Additive Manufacturing”, “Big Data”, and “Augmented Reality”

Our use-case is the first model project to implement “Industry 4.0 dimensions” in a hands-on scenario at THWS. In the scope of this project, a toy pick-up truck model was produced. This model can be configured almost indefinitely, and is then produced using various manufacturing methods. In our use-case scenario, the toy truck is not our primary concern, but the (technical) Industry 4.0 functionalities applied during manufacturing. We use an injection-moulding machine, a milling machine, a machine to check quality and function, various robots and a 3D printer.
The foundation for the c-factory was set during a student project. The open architecture of machinery and the open structure of the data, database and CAD invite you to test and do experiments.

Award-winning higher-education teaching

The c-factory’s didactic concept convinced the VDMA e. V. (Mechanical Engineering Industry Association) in its nation-wide contest in 2019, and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering won the VDMA award as “Best in Mechanical Engineering 2019”. The THWS thus won the most highly endowed award for university teaching in engineering in Germany and convinced the 21-member jury across the board: The “c-factory” is a model factory which places its focus on teaching competences and self-responsibility. Students work in a realistic industrial environment and reproduce the life-cycle of a technical product both physically and digitally.
Link to the press release “Award: Best in Mechanical Engineering 2019”

An introduction to c-factory

In the course of the digital competence conference at THWS in Schweinfurt in March 2020, the processes in the c-Factory were recorded in a video and the creation of an individual product was accompanied in the production steps.


Come and visit us to discuss the interconnectedness of machinery, interfaces and systems!

Lab for Product Development – c-factory
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering

Room 4.E.26
Ignaz-Schön-Straße 11
97421 Schweinfurt

Phone +49 9721 940-9926

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christoph Bunsen
Room 4.E.64
Phone +49 9721 940-8894