Mobile plug-in lab for advanced systems engineering


The advent of Industrie 4.0 and digital transformation is bringing big changes for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In particular, they are now having to learn how to adopt an interdisciplinary and intercompany approach to the development process and, at the same time, how to deal with increasingly complex mechatronic systems and new technologies. To help meet these challenges, Fraunhofer IAO has developed a mobile plug-in lab, which will travel to companies in the region. Funded by the Baden-Württemberg State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labor and Housing, this will not only foster new concepts but also show companies, on the basis of selected concrete applications, how to put their own solutions into practice.


Fraunhofer IAO has created a mobile workspace for companies in the mechanical and plant engineering, automotive, electrical engineering and medical technology sectors. Installed in a 20-foot container, this mobile plug-in lab will help produce solutions in the following areas of advanced systems engineering (ASE):

  • End-to-end digital product development processes, from initial sketch to manufacturing
  • Digital twins in product development
  • Model-based systems engineering (MBSE) approaches to the development process
  • Process design in networked and interdisciplinary development projects
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) in product development


The mobile plug-in lab provides companies with on-site demonstrations of interactive applications, thereby providing them with hands-on experience of the impact of digitalization. At the same time, individual consulting gives companies concrete support as they embark upon the implementation of their specific use case. Together with experts, they can then develop a solution tailored to their precise requirements. State funding for an individual consultation is available as part of the Exploring Projects program. This program is targeted in particular at companies and startups that have little or no experience of R&D projects. It gives them an opportunity to implement their project ideas with the help of the experts and research infrastructure at Fraunhofer IAO.

The selection and planning of an exploring project is a multistage process. Companies interested in participating may contact Fraunhofer experts directly with a request for more detailed information.

The lab can also serve as a training facility to provide management, skilled workers and trainees with hands-on experience of digital technology and processes.