Cyber Production Management Lab

The project consortium – consisting of the University of Siegen and RWTH Aachen University as well as the companies Achenbach Buschhütten, Heuel & Löher, Innofarming and SDFS Smarte Demonstrationsfabrik Siegen – wants to determine in which steps of a production process the use of AI is particularly promising.

The modern Campus Buschhütten provides the starting point of the Cyber Production Management Lab (CPML) in the industrial region of South Westphalia. ©CPML

Press release

The press release on the CPML flagship project on the occasion of the presentation of the funding decision (16 November 2023).

AI project boosts the digital transformation of industrial companies in South Westphalia

With the “Cyber Production Management Lab” project, or CPML for short, funded by the NRW Ministry of Economics, a pioneering and forward-looking project is being launched in the South Westphalia region to support manufacturing companies with challenging transformation processes ahead and to ensure their competitiveness in the long term.

Manufacturing companies, especially medium-sized enterprises, are increasingly facing significant challenges. Massive technological progress, the advancing digital transformation, and the need for decarbonization and sustainability in production represent just some of the influencing factors. To meet these challenges and strengthen the competitiveness of companies, artificial intelligence plays a crucial key role in production management. For this reason, the CPML research project is being supported by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia with funding of 7.5 million euros to develop innovative solutions and optimally equip manufacturing companies in the region for future challenges.

The objective of the research project is to seamlessly integrate future-oriented technologies such as AI and 5G into the manufacturing industry. By integrating these technologies into production planning and manufacturing processes, resource efficiency and energy savings can be realized, among other things. To this end, algorithms will be developed, tested and validated within the company’s own production environment on an extensive range of machinery. The project will address issues in the areas of predictive quality, predictive maintenance, and the creation and application of digital twins, including complete process simulations. Within the research project, a close cooperation of companies from industrial production, software technology as well as research institutions is aimed at developing far-reaching solutions that can be successfully applied across industries. Particularly noteworthy here are the extensive production facilities, which cover a variety of different manufacturing technologies from a wide range of industries. Among other things, a laser cladding system, a 5-axis CNC machining center, a laser cutting system, a die bending machine and a brewing system will be purchased. One focus of the project is the complete process chain of sheet metal processing, as the central manufacturing technology of the industrial region of South Westphalia.

The project consortium within the research venture consists of the two research institutes University of Siegen with the Chair of International Production Engineering and Management, as well as the RWTH Aachen. The companies involved are Achenbach Buschhütten GmbH & Co. KG, Heuel & Löher GmbH & Co. KG and the start-up Innofarming. The consortium is led by the company SDFS Smarte Demonstrationsfabrik Siegen GmbH. Furthermore, through the initiative KI.NRW, an exchange with other regional funding projects such as the “Denkfabrik digital” and the cluster “Metall+Daten” is aimed at creating synergies and advancing current research topics. The “Cyber Production Management Lab” thus paves the way for an innovative and sustainable future for the manufacturing industry in South Westphalia.

Flagship updates

Prof. Peter Burggräf
Project Manager of the KI.NRW flagship project “Cyber Production Management Lab”
© Rene Traut / Siegener Zeitung
“Money for AI: Economics Minister Neubaur favours the Buschhütten campus”
Read more about the handover of the decision in the Siegener Zeitung.
© Campus Buschhütten
“CPML” becomes new KI.NRW flagship project
Find out how the AI project is advancing the twin transformation of industrial companies in South Westphalia.
© AKrasov/ & KI.NRW
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Voices on the project

Mona Neubaur


The Buschhütten campus is a flagship project that paves the way for a successful industrial transformation, especially for small and medium-sized companies in South Westphalia. The cooperation between industry and university, with simultaneous university and industrial-technical training and further education on one campus, is a prime example of well-thought-out technology transfer and active recruitment of skilled labour.

© Land NRW/R. Sondermann

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Burggräf

University of Siegen, Project Manager


“In the Cyber Production Management Lab, we focus on the interaction of AI and humans in production management. In real laboratories, from sheet metal processing to beer brewing, me and my team implement AI solutions to explore their potential in close-to-production operations. We are putting the thesis to the test as to whether AIs are already equivalent to human cognitive abilities or can even outperform them in production management. Naturally, we are working closely with regional medium-sized companies. This project is a crucial element in the development of our demonstration factory in Siegen and supports the digital transformation of the industry.”

© Peter Burggräf/IPEM

Fabian Steinberg

Managing Director SDFS Smarte Demonstrationsfabrik Siegen

“The Cyber Production Managemt Lab project offers comprehensive opportunities to future-proof production in the South Westphalia region. We, as SDFS Smarte Demonstrationsfabrik Siegen, are pleased to drive this initiative forward as consortium leader. The project focuses on a holistic view of AI applications in production – covering all processes from incoming orders to the delivery of products. With this project, we are further developing our demonstration factory and are making a decisive contribution to securing the future of South Westphalia as an industrial region.”


Dr. Christian Temath

Managing Director KI.NRW


“Whether it’s the sustainable production of food – keyword vertical farming –, process optimization in industrial manufacturing or resource-saving solutions in transport systems and packaging: In all these areas, AI innovations can make an important contribution to a sustainable economy. The Cyber Production Management Lab is on its way to leverage these potentials in the best possible way in cooperation with strong partners. We are very happy to support this valuable work, the results of which can benefit the entire industry in Germany, with our KI.NRW flagship initiative.”

Flagships powered by KI.NRW

Operating under the brand “Flagships powered by KI.NRW“, the Artificial Intelligence Competence Platform North Rhine-Westphalia supports projects funded by the state as AI lighthouse projects in order to support efficient technology transfer and close cooperation between SMEs, startups, universities, colleges and research institutions in NRW. Under the strategic auspices of KI.NRW, the competence platform provides communications support for the projects and positions NRW as an AI location by marketing the results at European level. One focus is on the sustainable transfer and further utilization of the project results.

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