Cognitive Engineering and Production

Make manufacturing more efficient and creative | Use digital technology to speed up the development process | Use virtual and participatory methods to plan work processes

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Tomorrow’s flexible production processes

The advent of Industrie 4.0 means that processes in product development and manufacturing are becoming increasingly connected. Consumers, products, machinery, equipment, tools and many other things are all communicating not only with one another but also, via mobile devices, with employees. In our research, we investigate this development and devise practical strategies for meeting the challenges it brings. We look at process efficiency and at the innovative role that people play in Industrie 4.0.

Our work focuses on the process chain involved in product creation. This chain extends from the idea for a new product to planning, development and production.

We also investigate today’s dominant trend in industry: the comprehensive digitalization of production and its various processes, and their increasing interconnectivity on the basis of smart technology. Using digital models of products and production processes, together with real-time data from the physical world, we continue to enhance conditions in the workplace. Based on innovative technology such as the exoskeleton, we are already designing more-ergonomic working conditions.

In our research projects, we investigate new ways of interacting with digital tools and virtual reality in the workplace. In the future, it will be possible to visualize concepts, products or even whole buildings by means of virtual reality and thereby refine them in a holistic and participatory way.

Along with a rich fund of expertise in product and workplace design, our interdisciplinary research unit has comprehensive knowledge of not only the processes involved in product creation and manufacturing but also of the flexible deployment of human resources. This applies to the areas of strategic planning, development and design as well as production and human resources.

Whether we are working on a research project or directly for a customer, we apply our own specially developed methods to adapt products or even entire buildings to the precise needs of their users. In the same way, we design efficient processes and organize the workplace and working hours to be more attractive for employees. In so doing, we focus on not only the requirements of the workforce but also on questions of efficiency and profitability.

In addition, we help our customers enhance the digital processes they use to design and realize innovative products. By providing an integrated package of innovative research and practical solutions to specific operational tasks, we offer companies access to the latest technical and organizational trends and help them take full advantage of these developments in their own workplace.

Our Cognitive Engineering and Production researchers focus on:

  • The optimization of processes used in digital engineering for connected product development
  • The digitalization of production and the use of digital twins – from initial consultation to the concrete development and optimization of intelligent products, processes or entire production facilities
  • The development of virtual reality technologies and applications with a focus on engineering in the manufacturing and construction industries
  • Human factors engineering for products and work systems
  • A turbulence-proof design for the attractive deployment of personnel; appropriate scaling of the requisite flexible forms of employment; and design of ergonomic shift models
  • New technologies and concepts for human-machine interaction in connected production environments
  • Business models and customized production solutions for Industrie 4.0 – from the initial idea to product release
  • Interactive surfaces and spaces
  • Innovative lighting concepts for today’s working environments
  • Product development with virtual prototypes
  • Immersive site visits


The Cognitive Engineering and Production Research Unit is organized in the following teams:


Connected Manufacturing Systems

Develops methods, use cases and procedures for the realization and efficient operation of connected, cognitive manufacturing systems


Manufacturing Management

Provides analyses to help companies organize their business processes and production processes in such a way as to create efficient, attractive and flexible working conditions


Digital Engineering

Supports companies with product creation and the design of suitable production processes. Current areas of focus are the impact of Engineering 4.0 on the development process, the influence of additive manufacturing technologies on product development, and urban production


Advanced Systems Engineering

Helps companies manage their product development on the basis of scenario planning and other strategic methods. Areas of focus include cutting-edge approaches to product development – along with the requisite IT systems – and the development of frugal innovations


Visual Interactive Technologies

Investigates the use of 2D and 3D user interfaces in the age of digitalization. Areas of focus include the application of virtual and augmented reality in product development and manufacturing, and the development of interactive surfaces