Digitalization of Production

Innovative solutions from Fraunhofer IESE for digitalization and Industrie 4.0 in production along the entire value chain.

Game changers on the way to Industrie 4.0: digitalization and automation

The industrial world is constantly facing new challenges. Especially the consequences of the pandemic that has been going on for several years have highlighted and accelerated this – from the lack of skilled workers and uncertainty in the supply chain to customers’ desire for more individualization and the growing pressure to have to produce more sustainably and flexibly. Many companies from a wide range of industries are therefore looking for new possibilities to increase their productivity and competitiveness in the long term. Digitalization and automation are the decisive game changers here for mastering these challenges on the way to Industrie 4.0

At Fraunhofer IESE, for example, a solution for the future has been developed with the open-source Industrie 4.0 middleware BaSyx, which enables companies to individually exploit the potential of digitalization and Industrie 4.0.

What are the benefits of digitalization in production?

Typical application scenarios are:

  • Increase of flexibility / changeability in production
  • Reduction of unplanned downtime and downtime costs
  • Increase of the availability of machines and plants
  • Stable supply of pre-products
  • Increase of production quality
  • Reduction of commissioning costs

How can your company implement planned digitalization measures in production?

How can you improve your competitive position or even develop new business models? 

Fraunhofer IESE supports manufacturing companies, machine and plant engineers, software vendors, system integrators, and engineering service providers holistically in software, systems, and innovation engineering. Our experts realize innovative, scalable solutions for digitalization and Industrie 4.0 in production and along the entire value chain.

In doing so, we always start from your individual situation. As an independent institution, we also evaluate neutrally and objectively. We deliver custom-fit solutions to our customers’ individual problems and challenges, such as:

  • How to create and use Digital Twins to network your systems flexibly and test them virtually?
  • How to modernize your legacy systems in production as a basis for Industrie 4.0?
  • How to establish a B2B platform based on asset administration shells for data exchange along the supply chain across company boundaries?

We would be happy to discuss your challenge in a phone call or meeting – contact us!

What are your challenges in this industry?

Automation in production, coupled with dependable and high-precision plants, has guaranteed the success of the German economy for many years. This trend continues with digitalization in industrial manufacturing and the innovation impulses it generates. Digital Twins enable easy and flexible access to data and services and open up new opportunities for optimization and flexibilization, right through to entirely new business models. Mastering the current trends and challenges in the manufacturing and logistics industry requires a strong and dependable research and development partner with know-how. Fraunhofer IESE is this partner and supports you with its expertise, which has grown steadily over the years, and its individual solutions for the digital transformation of your production and processes throughout the entire lifecycle – no matter what challenges you are facing in this regard.

Why is AI being used increasingly in production?

Dependable AI

Dependable AI / Verlässliche KI Keyvisual - Fraunhofer IESE

AI in production

While Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made its way into our homes through smartphones, fitness trackers, or other smart assistants, the manufacturing industry has only just begun to think seriously about integrating AI. However, future product lines will rely heavily on AI when it comes to enabling sustainable and intelligent production. Efficiency and flexibility in production can be increased through AI-supported process optimization, predictive maintenance, and quality assurance. AI will pave the way for the vision of fully automated factories that flexibly produce goods in small production quantities – down to “lot size 1”.

Many companies in Germany have already recognized the competitive importance of Artificial Intelligence, but implementing it in their own company is not always easy. Particularly in critical application areas such as autonomous driving, production automation, or medical technology, companies are often facing major challenges.

Especially in these industries, it is essential that AI systems are safe, dependable, and trustworthy. To guarantee these qualities and to make the risk of an AI system transparent and manageable, we use our many years of experience in systems and software engineering.

Fraunhofer IESE advises and supports companies in engineering dependable AI systems and accompanies them throughout the entire lifecycle: starting with an AI potential analysis, then from AI strategy via AI development to the assurance of AI including validation and AI testing/auditing and compliance with legal and normative requirements.

We will be happy to discuss your challenge in a phone call or meeting – contact us!

Reference projects in the area of Dependable AI

Production and HR


Examination of safe control and testing procedures for AI systems in the context of human-machine cooperation in industrial production and HR management.



The abbreviation stands for “Semantic platform for intelligent decision and operations support in control centers and situation centers”. As the name suggests, the project aims to apply Artificial Intelligence to control centers and situation rooms in order to support them in coordinating missions and thus take an important step forward in the digital transformation of emergency and disaster management.

Automotive & Mobility, Commercial Vehicles, Machine and Plant Engineering


In this project, Fraunhofer IESE is conducting research with its project partners on a methodology for the quality-oriented development and validation of systems.

How can systems in production be networked flexibly and tested virtually?

Digital Twins and Virtual Engineering

Fokusthema: Virtual Engineering, Fraunhofer IESE

Virtualization of production plants

For manufacturers of machines and plants, the increasing complexity of machine software and the progressive modularization of modern production plants have led to the need for ever more extensive simulations in the run-up to production. The fact that international travel to companies for commissioning or service purposes has decreased significantly reinforces this trend. In the future, functional tests of production plants in Industrie 4.0 will be performed with the help of comprehensive models for simulation and virtual commissioning. The factory of the future will be built twice – first virtually, then physically. A digital image that is continuously fed with live data will provide information about the condition of a machine throughout its entire lifecycle in the form of a Digital Twin, which will ultimately make on-site interventions the exception.

There are also immense advantages for industrial manufacturing or for production processes: Digital Twins are the success factor for virtual engineering. You, too, can use Digital Twins to digitalize your manufacturing processes, to flexibly network your systems, and to test them virtually. The benefits are obvious: Digital Twins map the current state of the system, offer uniform interfaces to data and services, and can predict a system’s reactions to changes. A Digital Twin enables virtual tests, shortens development times and thus the time-to-market of new products. Virtual engineering encompasses the activities involved in creating and using digital surrogates. In this way, virtual engineering supports developers and engineers in optimally integrating a Digital Twin into processes.

Digital Twins and Virtual Engineering: What are the opportunities?

Blauer Kreis, Nummer 1

Digital manufacturing processes

Use our open-source Industrie 4.0 solution BaSyx to create a virtual dataspace with asset administration shells. The Digital Twin for your processes, resources, and products digitalizes your manufacturing. Realize a virtual control room that shows the status of your products, devices, and processes at one glance and enables predictive maintenance, product tracking with automated documentation, or the production of small lot sizes. With BaSyx, you digitalize your manufacturing and use an open platform. In this way, you solve the challenges of today while at the same time laying the foundation for the future. 

Blauer Kreis, Nummer 2

Faster time-to-market

Time is money! Often the winner is not who was able to place the best product on the market, but the one who placed it first. In addition to the actual development and implementation, however, it is often tests and troubleshooting that delay completion. Digital Twins realize digital representations of systems as virtual test environments. Changes, the integration of systems, and new developments can be tested in this way. With a Digital Twin, you can also reliably reproduce rare situations, such as hardware defects, operating mistakes, or transmission errors.

Blauer Kreis, Nummer 3

Integration of IT and OT

Many systems are now networked and communicate with each other. Nevertheless, communication is often limited: The use of different protocols and formats often prevents direct data exchange. In a production environment, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, for example, cannot easily access data from the shop floor. However, this data is necessary for digital production, as processes increasingly need to be documented in an automated way and flexible production processes need to know the status as well as the degree of utilization of a plant at any time. The Digital Twin realizes a complete image of the production that includes both the current status of the plant and allows making controlled changes to it.

We will support you in the:

  • Realization of a customized, virtual middleware as a basic system (BaSyx) for your production facilities to enable efficient changeability of your production processes
  • Networking and integration of existing technologies to ensure the realization of Industrie 4.0 applications
  • Development and implementation of Digital Twins
  • Development of data models
  • Integration and coupling of simulation models
  • Integration of the IESE models into your existing solutions

We will be happy to discuss your challenge in a phone call or meeting – contact us!


Read more about Virtual Engineering and Digital Twins:


Reference projects in the area of Virtual Engineering

Industrie 4.0

Project BASYS 4

In the BaSys 4 project, we are developing the open-source Industrie 4.0 middleware Eclipse BaSyx for the implementation of Digital Twins.

Machine and Plant Engineering / Industrie 4.0

with Ellenberger

With BaSys 4.0 to Production as a Service: Realization of production with manufacturing islands as Digital Twins.

Collaboration partner

“BaSyx makes the commissioning of a new production line about 30 percent faster.”


Gerhard Schaller
Director Digitalization Operations for the ZF Division Electrified Powertrain


Machine and Plant Engineering


In the research project FabOS, Fraunhofer IESE is involved in developing an open, distributed, real-time-capable, and safe operating system for production in an Industrie 4.0 “Smart Factory”.

Machine and Plant Engineering / Industrie 4.0

HÄFNER Success Story

Fraunhofer IESE and HÄFNER Präzisionsteile Oberrot GmbH are performing a retrofit with Digital Twins with the goal of enabling a holistic view of the factor. 

How to protect your security-critical applications in production – including along manufacturing and supply chains?

Data Security and Data Sovereignty

Data Security, Fraunhofer IESE

Cyber-security in production

In the recent past, there has been a significant increase in successful cyber-attacks on the production facilities of German machine and plant manufacturers. Nevertheless, cyber-security in production is still neglected, although the dangers for companies are immense. Hacker attacks are becoming an ever greater threat to companies. According to the digital association Bitkom, more than half of all companies in Germany have been victims of digital industrial espionage, sabotage, or data theft in recent years.  

A central U.S. oil pipeline, the Irish healthcare system, the world’s largest meat producer, and the United Nations – they all have something in common: They have been victims of cyber-attacks. And this is just the tip of the iceberg in a series of attacks that have attracted media attention.

However, even “security-critical systems” are increasingly interconnected via local networks or even the Internet. This leads to security concerns not only among the stakeholders in production environments. Data transported along manufacturing and supply chains in the context of decentralized business models also requires flexible, secure handling. This is because these traditionally closed systems now expose communication interfaces that make them vulnerable to all kinds of attacks, which can be carried out over the Internet even from remote locations.

Fraunhofer IESE has teams of experts whose focus is on both security engineering and safety engineering. These experts will support you with 360 ° security engineering for your IT security concept and offer you a safety-security co-engineering service so that you can be sure that your security-critical systems are well protected against cyber-attacks.

For this purpose, we use, for example:

  • Potential, risk, and security analyses
  • Auditing and assessment of IT security, including network penetration tests
  • Software security assessment and compliance checks
  • Support through solutions for (automatic) document classification
  • Implementation of data sovereignty (with Fraunhofer MYDATA Control Technologies)
  • Piloting and development of comprehensive security concepts

We will be happy to discuss your challenge in a phone call or meeting – contact us!


Read more about how you can support your digitalization with autonomous systems:


  • Security Engineering
    Getting off to a flying start in digitalization with data security and data sovereignty

Reference projects in the area of Data Security

Automotive & Mobility, Commercial Vehicles


More security in autonomous driving. In this project, a research consortium including Fraunhofer IESE is working on increasing the security of such systems.

Customer Statement

“With open-source projects such as Eclipse BaSyx, initial prototypes can already be realized today, which accelerates the step towards product-ready implementation of Industrie 4.0 concepts.”




Press Release


In the project OPEN-POCT, Fraunhofer IMM from Mainz and Fraunhofer IESE are jointly developing an optimized test ecosystem for the detection of the coronavirus.

How to establish your Digital Ecosystem? How to use a platform as a B2B marketplace for production and data?

Digital Ecosystems

Digitale Ökosysteme, Fraunhofer IESE
© Fraunhofer IESE

Digital Ecosystems or platforms as B2B marketplaces 

Digital Ecosystems or platforms such as Netflix, Airbnb,, or Amazon Marketplace are known to be very successful in B2C business and have already had a disruptive impact on their respective industries. In Germany, too, there are many opportunities and potentials for establishing successful Digital Ecosystems – especially in business-to-business (B2B), for example in the context of data marketplaces for production and along supply chains, or marketplaces for pre-products for industrial manufacturing.

The only question is: How to start or optimize your platform business or your digital B2B ecosystem? An absolute success factor is the integrated and neatly coordinated consideration of business, technical, and legal aspects. The Fraunhofer Reference Model for Digital Ecosystems provides an overview of the relevant aspects.

This starts with the organization that initiates and operates the Digital Ecosystem and extends to all the partners involved and the user community, right through direct and indirect competition. In this regard, it is important to take an integrated view of business, technical, and legal aspects for all points listed in the model.

No matter in which phase of your Digital Ecosystem project you are – Fraunhofer IESE is the ideal partner for your company.

As an institute for innovation, systems, and software engineering, Fraunhofer IESE is in a position like no other to support you holistically when it comes to Digital Ecosystems – from the initial intention through the entire lifecycle of a Digital Ecosystem. In doing so, we cover a very wide range of services. We can help top management with strategic decisions, assist in the design and construction of the Digital Ecosystem and the digital platform, and clarify questions regarding the technical realization with the developers.

Aligned with your needs, we offer different types of cooperation:

  • We perform tasks for you completely.
  • We actively support you in your tasks, work together with you, and guide your team.
  • We teach you our methods so that you can apply them on your own.

We will be happy to discuss your challenge in a phone call or meeting – contact us!


Read more about the solutions we offer and about our service portfolio for Digital Ecosystems:


Reference projects in the area of Digital Ecosystems

Medicine and Healthcare


In the research project ATMP, concepts for the digital, AI-assisted, robot-assisted, and automated production of drugs such as cell and gene therapeutics as well as vaccines are being developed.

Further reference projects in the area of digitalization of production

Customer Statement

“Our colleagues from Fraunhofer IESE did an excellent job in understanding our challenges and tailoring their approach to our demands.”


Dr. Magnus Albert,

Machine and Plant Engineering


Together with Fraunhofer IESE as a partner, SICK AG has developed a method for reusing modular function blocks and the software implemented from them in safety-critical sensor systems.


Siemens Gas and Power

Data science optimizes power plant controls: Gaining new insights from data – this was the goal of the joint project of Fraunhofer IESE and Siemens Gas and Power GmbH & Co. KG.

Machine and Plant Engineering


In the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence “Cognitive Internet Technologies” (CCIT), Fraunhofer IESE is contributing its competence in the area of data usage control.

Machine and Plant Engineering

Gebr. Pfeiffer SE

Fraunhofer IESE supported Gebr. Pfeiffer in the development and implementation of intelligent algorithms for mill protection and predictive maintenance.

Automotive & Mobility

Caruso Dataplace

Caruso GmbH has developed its open and neutral data and service marketplace for the automotive aftermarket with the support of Fraunhofer IESE.


Contact us!


We will be happy to discuss your challenge in a phone call or meeting.