Welcome at Werk150,
the factory of the ESB Business School
on the campus of the Reutlingen University
Founded in 2011, the factory provides a state-of-the-art infrastructure for research, development, education and training. Students are trained to become future experts in the field of innovative technologies and approaches. In addition, current issues of applied research are dealt with here and new methods, tools and future technologies as well as control methods for adaptable work and logistics systems are developed and tested. The results of applied research are continuously incorporated into teaching.
It all began in 2011 under the leadership of Professor Dr Vera Hummel. After a conception phase, Werk150, at that time still called "ESB Logistics Learning Factory", was initially set up in 2013 in a basement of Building 5 of the ESB Business School.
A significant leap forward was made in 2018:
The ESB Logistics Learning Factory was renamed
the “Pilot Factory Industry 4.0”. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research funded the project ECHO (real-time capable, cyber-physical hybrid production) with a total of 1.7m euros.
This funding helped to equip the learning factory with many different devices such as lasers, sensors, collaborative robots, smart devices, intelligent logistics systems and high-performance 3D printers.
Move to building 21
Since Summer 2019 Werk150 has its new home: 800 m2 hall with a high ceiling, flooded with light, workplaces for the students and a room for seminars.
With the move it was time to roll out the new name: ESB Logistik-Lernfabrik is now Werk150.
“The old name no longer felt right: we do not only teach here but also carry out research and development. Moreover, we no longer replicate
only a logistics company in the factory, but an entire production facility. Logistics is only a part of the complete production process”, explains Professor Hummel.
A ‘Werk’ includes both, production and logistics. And it describes not only a technical plant but also stands for the product of creative work.
“By the way, the 150 in the name stands for the address – the campus at Reutlingen University is at 150 Alteburgstrasse, as well as for more than 150 years of experience in education and research at the location of Reutlingen University“, adds Professor Palm.
GERMAN-DUTCH RESEARCH NETWORK LAUNCHED
The joint initiative "Artificial Intelligence for Digital Twins" (AI4DT) of the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant and the state of Baden-Württemberg aims to promote the exchange and application of artificial intelligence (AI) in companies. The AI4DT network consists of companies, experts and technology providers who regularly meet, inform and share experiences in joint events. For this purpose, a cooperation platform is permanently available at www.ai4dt.com for networking and virtual events.
At Werk150, the factory on the campus of Reutlingen University, and at the Brainport Industry Campus Eindhoven, the "fieldlabs", test environments for testing digital industrial solutions, are also being created. Demonstrators will be set up here to show the potential of technology, and experts and companies will come together to work on innovative solutions.
THE STANDALONE 5G-INDOOR NETWORK GOES LIVE
As the year draws to a close, we are pleased to announce that Werk150 is one of the first facilities in Germany to have a functioning standalone 5G indoor network. Together with our partner Smart Mobile Labs, the radio units, so-called Pico Remote Radio Heads, were installed today and the network went live.
The radio units at Werk150 are roughly comparable to a WLAN router, with a transmitting power of 200 mW and a frequency range between 3.7 GHz and 3.8 GHz. All 5G radio units are located within the Werk150 and the transmission range is thereby limited only to the research facility itself. In addition, we have the option of switching our 5G network on and off at any time.
The 5G test environment at Reutlingen University is one of six test environments within the 5G4KMU project. As of today, this test environment can be used by medium-sized companies to jointly research and prototype 5G use cases.
MILESTONE EVENT IN THE 5G4KMU PROJECT
Under the title "5G for SMEs: Networked into the future", the Transfer Centre 5G4KMU invited to the milestone event at the Campus Schwarzwald in Freudenstadt on 6th of October 2020.
There, we showed interested partners from industry, research and the press the performance of 5G and future areas of application based on our focus areas of production, logistics and healthcare.
At Werk150, the focus is on logistics, safety applications in human-robot collaboration and information provision in companies. "5G as a wireless transmission technology with high bandwidth and availability is virtually predestined for mobile applications in logistics," says Prof. Daniel Palm, project manager of the 5G4KMU project at ESB Business School. Currently, different demonstrators are being realised in Werk150, the factory on the campus of Reutlingen University. They show how 5G makes cooperation between working people and driverless transport systems or collaborative robots safer and more efficient.
TOUR OF THE WERK150
In cooperation with the VDMA, we were able to inform the invited industry representatives about the most important funding programmes at EU, federal and state level as well as direct implementation options.
The Werk150 team presented current digitalisation projects and research topics: 5G Campus Networks
in the industrial environment, digital business models,
AI applications in production (smart maintenance),
Blockchain applications in the value chain, digital factory and product engineering, and human-robot collaboration.
Visitors were able to experience the latter live: the barista robot took over the serving of coffee.
FUNDING FOR TRANSFER PLATFORM INDUSTRY 4.0 / ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Following a pilot phase, the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economic Affairs is funding the joint Industry Transfer Platform 4.0 (TPBW I4.0) of the Universities of Aalen, Esslingen and Reutlingen in cooperation with the Steinbeis Foundation with a further two million euros. The project, which has already proven its worth, helps small and medium-sized companies to make better use of the opportunities in the field of digitisation and artificial intelligence.
The participating universities in Aalen, Esslingen and Reutlingen, in cooperation with the Steinbeis Foundation, are now strengthening their transfer activities and interlinking two essential instruments: on the one hand, they are expanding the existing offer of the cross-location industry 4.0 laboratories as demonstration centres, and on the other hand, they are using this as a basis for advising SMEs on digitisation and artificial intelligence. The transfer platform is geared to the existing needs of small and medium-sized enterprises in Baden-Württemberg and thus offers companies a low-threshold entry into these future technologies.
With its factory infrastructure, the ESB Business School's Werk150 supports the production of faceshields for the Germany-wide #makersvirus initiative to supply local care and rescue services with urgently needed Covid-19 protective equipment.
Initiated by Hammertime Kassel, more than 130 decentralised locations or hubs specialised in Covid-19 protective equipment have been established in recent weeks. Werk150 supports the Reutlinger Hub im Makertreff e.V. with the production of the visor shields, of which approx. 400 have already been produced in Werk150 using laser cutting equipment. About 480 more visors are planned for the coming weeks.
Topics for research and training
System “Factory 4.0”
Design of hybrid work systems: Human-robot-collaboration in production and intralogistics
Autonomously controlled, changeable intralogistics systems
Digitally integrated product and process engineering & manufacturing
& digital business models