Implementation of a Six-Layer Smart Factory Architecture with Special Focus on Transdisciplinary Engineering Education

Benjamin James Ralph, Marcel Sorger, Benjamin Schödinger, Hans-Jörg Schmölzer, Karin Hartl, Martin Stockinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Smart factories are an integral element of the manufacturing infrastructure in the context of the fourth industrial revolution. Nevertheless, there is frequently a deficiency of adequate training facilities for future engineering experts in the academic environment. For this reason, this paper describes the development and implementation of two different layer architectures for the metal processing environment. The first architecture is based on low-cost but resilient devices, allowing interested parties to work with mostly open-source interfaces and standard back-end programming environments. Additionally, one proprietary and two open-source graphical user interfaces (GUIs) were developed. Those interfaces can be adapted front-end as well as back-end, ensuring a holistic comprehension of their capabilities and limits. As a result, a six-layer architecture, from digitization to an interactive project management tool, was designed and implemented in the practical workflow at the academic institution. To take the complexity of thermo-mechanical processing in the metal processing field into account, an alternative layer, connected with the thermo-mechanical treatment simulator Gleeble 3800, was designed. This framework is capable of transferring sensor data with high frequency, enabling data collection for the numerical simulation of complex material behavior under high temperature processing. Finally, the possibility of connecting both systems by using open-source software packages is demonstrated.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2944
Number of pages24
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Digitalization
  • Engineering education
  • Industry 4.0
  • Layer architecture
  • Metal processing
  • Smart factory

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