Infrastructure of the research factory

Together with the state of Baden-Württemberg, KIT and the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft have identified a plot of land on the eastern campus of KIT as the site for the Karlsruhe research factory. The eastern campus is located on Rintheimer Querallee in the immediate vicinity of the Karlsruhe Technology Park. The structure of the research factory is concentrated in an L-shaped building that can be extended comb-like in the further stages of expansion. The building of the research factory consists of two parts: a KIT and a Fraunhofer building. Both building sections are connected by a foyer bar and are clearly assigned to the respective building owner. The KIT building section houses hybrid lightweight construction processes, including high and heavy presses for the production of CFRP prototypes. For reasons of densification, the Fraunhofer part of the building is two-storeyed: the ground floor accommodates processes of e-mobility, the upper floor industry 4.0 research work. The building and its equipment are so flexible or adaptable that the production processes can be easily converted or exchanged. In contrast to the ground floor, the upper floor is not edged but equipped with a so-called sensor ceiling. With the help of this sensor canopy, sensors and measurement technology can be installed at any point above the production area with regard to the research topic of 'immature processes'. Retrofitting with sensors, e.g. to collect further data from the processes, is thus easily possible.

The production areas in both building sections are divided into 8x8 m test fields, which are available to interdisciplinary teams from partner companies and the Fraunhofer and KIT staff for their R&D tasks. The present preliminary design by the office of Heinle, Wischer und Partner from Berlin/Stuttgart summarizes the required functions of both building sections on an area of approx. 4,500 m². The office space for the scientific staff working in the building as well as for industrial partners will be arranged in an immediately adjacent existing building.

In order to research cross-location tasks and develop solutions for them, we have another location with a modern infrastructure in the form of SmartFactory OWL. Testing and demonstrating transparency in the supply chain? Negotiate Smart Contracts between two production sites? Develop and test capacity marketplaces? No problem - our infrastructure is designed to do just that. We are already developing and testing interoperability between distributed factories in the SmartFactoryWeb - which is also the official IIC Testbed - together with partners such as KETI in South Korea, Microsoft and SAP.