Networking works

Our network is really quite unique. Our research scientists discuss common issues and work together with experts from our member companies to develop solutions. The work focuses on the real needs of the shop floor. We develop technical solutions in keeping with the concept of Industrie 4.0 by taking theoretical concepts and evaluating them for their potential for practical integration in our demonstrator ecosystem. The results and innovations flow back into the circle of active partners. We occasionally publish white papers that are available for Download on our website.


The SmartFactoryKL research network coordinates joint research and development activities with our member companies. SF-KL identifies topics of interest in regular exchanges with partners, seeks funding to support research projects on the regional, national, and international levels, and forms competent consortia, if necessary.

A highly qualified, well-trained, and experienced staff in Kaiserslautern ensures state of the art knowledge is applied to all of our R&D projects. Our research scientists also support the completion of bachelor, master, and doctoral programs.

SmartFactoryKL has had a regular presence in Hall 8 at the fairgrounds ever since 2014. We are located directly across from the Industrie 4.0 Conference Stage, where we reach a broad audience together with our co-exhibiting member companies.

Staff members present topics related to the production of tomorrow at several venues, i.e., 5 times on the I4.0 Conference Stage in 2023, sometimes together with member companies.

A guided tour at Hannover Messe 2023, organized for the first time by SF-KL, had the title “What are the key technologies required in the production of the future.” Of all the tours, it garnered the greatest interest. Another highlight in 2023 was the participation of two pioneers of Industrie 4.0, Professors Henning Kargermann and Wolfgang Wahlster, who took part in a panel discussion on stage with Prof. Martin Ruskowski.

Once a year, we hold an Innovation Day for invited guests in Kaiserslautern. Government ministers and state secretaries can always be counted on to give the opening remarks.

At the close of the agenda, we give a tour of our shared production system and present the latest breakthroughs in the key enabling technologies, such as administrative shells, 5G, safety, and multi-agent systems, etc.

Innovation Day is also a networking event for our members to meet stakeholders from the government and private sectors.

  • SmartFactoryKL maintains its own press and marketing department. The goal is to give member companies and current topics of interest greater visibility among political stakeholders and the public through trade show exhibits and the trade press
  • We regularly present videos and film clips on our YouTube channel.
  • We broadcast the SmartFactoryKL – LIVE show on YouTube and LinkedIn on the third Thursday of each month. In these shows, 3 technology experts discuss an important priority, like digital twins, data spaces, or Manufacturing-X, etc. The talks are available as recordings on YouTube and also as podcasts.
  • We publish press releases on a regular basis.
  • Our website is constantly updated and you can always read the latest news in the News section.
  • We publish our Newsletter several times a year for the general public.
  • We send out the internal Newsletter SF Inside to our members every six weeks.
  • We maintain relationships with the relevant trade press and promote the publication of articles and interviews.
  • We facilitate contact between journalists and the experts at our member companies.
  • We organize and host press events.
  • We are active on the social media outlet LinkedIn.
  • We sponsor the Annual Innovation Day for members and invited guests.
  • We guide groups of visitors through our Production Level 4-Demonstratorlandschaft. PL4 demonstrator environment.
  • We regularly host visits by public officials.
  • The white papers prepared by our members are available for download on our website. Of course, we also publish them.
We provide free film material, logos, and photos to our members and journalists. The marketing and media managers meet monthly at our membership’s WORKING LUNCH, where they discuss communication strategies and issues relevant to PR and marketing.If you need some support, please contact Dr. Ingo Herbst (

Our members can test and try out their concepts, systems, hardware, and software in our Production Level 4-ecosystem. Together with our experts, our colleagues from the membership are able to advance the development and successful implementation of innovative solutions. In this process, all participants gain valuable experience that can be taken back to their companies. Important contacts, good debates and, time and again, new business ideas and relationships are created in this environment.

When the innovative ideas of our partners are installed in one of the production stations or the demonstrator, it generates a great deal of interest. Active members join us at the Hannover Messe, feature in the monthly YouTube show, SmartFactoryKL-LIVE, and are heavily involved with our Innovation Day. Additionally, they are highlighted in our press releases and brochures and become the focus of journalists who report on the visits by politicians and cover the latest breakthroughs in the factory of the future.

We are currently assisting in the development of the Gaia X data platform that requires the use of our testbed in the sub-project smartMA-X. This is also true for TWIN4TRUCKS, a funded project that we are implementing together with Daimler Truck, DFKI, Atos, Infosys, and Pfalzkom.

We are currently developing a Safety Intelligence Use-Case, an operational project in collaboration with PILZ,TÜV SÜD, and B&R Industrial Automation.

As of Dec. 2023, three working groups at SmartFactoryKL are actively pursuing various topics:

  • WG1: Cyber-physical production modules
  • WG2: Connect & Control
  • WG3: Cognitive Factory

These working groups coordinate and implement technical advances, trends, visions, and ideas. Findings are incorporated as new use-cases into the Production Level 4 demonstrator landscape or published as white papers.

For example, the operational Safety-Use-Case currently being studied in WG2.

Our network provides a realistic research and demonstration environment for all your testing needs. Active members may make use of this testbed for new systems and control architectures, as well as for promising AI methods and components.

System components and control elements from a wide range of manufacturers can be integrated, tested, and further developed as prototypes and pilot projects.

(see SF-KL is Testbed for Gaia-X / SF-KL is Testbed for TWIN4TRUCKS.)

We assist companies as consultants on all phases of a project. For example:

  • Identifying and evaluating use-cases
  • Designing custom Industrie 4.0 systems
  • Embedding new technologies into existing production operations
  • Coordinating technical Industrie 4.0 projects.
  • Preparing migration strategies for follow-on activities.
  • Developing findings into application-oriented projects for industrial use.

Companies may have other diverse requirements than the few selected and listed here. In principle, we are open to all business inquiries and projects.

Contact: Dr. Jonas Metzger (+49 631 343 773 24 /

SmartFactoryKL has been identified with the term Industrie 4.0 even before that term was widely accepted for global use. The first I4.0 demonstrator was built in Kaiserslautern for the Hannover Messe 2014.

Today, SF-KL is THE ‘Go to’ address for major corporations, SMEs, governments, associations, and research institutes interested in the production systems of the future.

Our mission is to maintain communication among all stakeholders, which is why we network with important organizations and sit on many professional committees, for example, VDMA, Hannover Messe, ZVEI, DIN, Plattform Industrie 4.0, IDTA, Administrative shell net, Gaia-X Hub Germany, ARENA2036, and Catena-X.

Stephan Hamm
Contact person for questions about the association, the AG and the Praxisforum
Dr. Ingo Herbst
Contact person for the Innovation Day and the WORKING LUNCH
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