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The Intelligent Factory of the Future

Presented by Detlef Zuehlke

As the world's first manufacturer-independent Industrie 4.0 plant, the SmartFactory is preparing the ground for the intelligent factory of the future. Together with renowned partners from different industries the SmartFactory introduces new concepts, standards and solutions that form the basis for the implementation of highly flexible automation technologies.

In this interview, Detlef shares his insights on how to overcome the challenge of lacking standards to drive the implementation of digital machines and connected systems forward. Furthermore, Detlef discusses the impacts of smart factories on the geographical production landscape and gives advice on how to manage the transition from analogue to digital manufacturing best.

Topics covered in this interview include:

  • First-hand experiences with a fully connected and automated manufacturing line
  • Managing collaboration between OEMs and suppliers
  • Impact of smart factories on global location factors and competitivenes
  • The future of the human workforce in the age of digital manufacturing
  • First steps and advice towards digitalisation and intelligent factories
Detlef Zuehlke, German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI)
Detlef Zuehlke

Scientific Director of the Innovative Factory Systems (IFS), German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI)

Detlef is the main initiator of the technology initiative SmartFactory KL e.V. – the intelligent factory of the future - which was founded in 2005 with well-known partners from industry and science. He is heading the research area of Innovative Factory Systems at the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) GmbH since 2009.

Detlef studied Electrical and Computer Engineering at RWTH Aachen, worked and obtained his PhD in 1983 at the Machine Tools Laboratory (WZL) at Aachen’s university, RWTH in robot programming. In 1985, he joined German Lufthansa AG. There, he was most recently head responsible of the aircraft maintenance branche. Since 1991, Zühlke is holder of the chair of Production Automation (pak) at the Technical University Kaiserslautern. There, he founded the Center for Human-Machine-Interaction (ZMMI) in 1998 which provides research and services in the area of the design of human-machine-systems for industrial applications.