Brochure „The FINESCE Smart Energy Platform“

Deliverable 7.8 „Consolidated Trial Results“

Deliverable 7.10 „Consolidated Report Innovation and Business“

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Smart factory - Trial Site Aachen

Future internet developing the B2B energy eco-system

If you think that one challenge is not enough, have a look on our FINESCE trial site in Aachen and Cologne. It combines a cross border Virtual Power Plant (VPP)based on renewable energy sources (RES) and combines it with the Demand-Side Management (DSM) of an intelligent scale factory. The focus of the trial site is balancing the energy between the smart factory and the virtual power plant in a business to business (B2B) electricity eco-system.
Topics Smart factory
Lead Partner /
Contact information
FIR at RWTH Aachen,
Julian Krenge, e-mail:
 Project Partners
RWTH Aachen
XLAB d.o.o.

Trial Sites Koeln & Aachen

Short description

Within work package 3, two interlinked streams of activities cover industrial demand-side management by a Smart Factory in Aachen and a cross border Virtual Power Plant (VPP).

Below you’ll find information about the Smart Factory. If you like to learn something about the cross-boarder VPP please have a look on their trial site description.

The increasing share of renewables results in a more volatile energy production, which will result in flexible electricity tariffs. The industry can take advantage of these flexible electricity tariffs in the future. The smart factory testbed will investigate the technical integration of energy monitoring equipment in the shopfloor, the integration of monitoring equipment with the planning and control systems of the factory and the use of open interfaces to communicate with the VPP. The objective of the smart factory in Aachen is to investigate and exploit the opportunities of energy management in a factory in terms of monitoring and demand flexibility. This is necessary to understand and optimize the relationship between the production process and energy usage.

The factory is a special demonstration plant which will produce real goods in small series such as framework parts for the StreetScooter (an electric vehicle produced for the ‘Deutsche Post AG’). The production environment of the demonstration plant is available for research purposes and provides access to already installed intelligent information systems and technology and real-time transaction data (e.g. information about produced goods, material flow). For this purpose, an energy monitoring system is implemented by collecting a high amount of data via sensor technology (working with bus communication and deploying smart metering) within the factory. Energy data from energy suppliers outside of the factory – here represented by the FINESCE cross-border virtual power plant – is made available for the demand-side to allow the production to react to shortages, price changes and other events.

Technical short profile

The factory consists of six sections dedicated to specific tasks. Production flows are routed in a single direction through the factory in order to allow for improved efficiency. For monitoring of electrical energy, especially those sections with machine tools are relevant. Material flow for production starts in the storage area, where the raw goods are kept. Sections A and B are only required for producing the StreetScooter steel frame, but not for other goods. Area C contains assembly stations for specific tasks and need to be realigned with changing production schedules. The StreetScooter steel frame is assembled in section F, whereby a quality check is performed. The steel frames are produced on demand and directly forwarded to the next production step in another factory also in the region of Aachen.

The four main consumers of electrical energy are monitored in terms of their status and energy consumption. The information is gathered directly from the machine tools – where possible – and additionally by external energy monitoring devices. They connect to the local production database via Ethernet. 

The ICT infrastructure in the factory mainly consists of three domains. On shopfloor level, where the data gathering happens, the machine tools and energy monitoring devices are connected via a LAN based on Modbus and PROFINET with the production site server, where the GE (Generic Enabler) Gateway Data Handling and GE Gateway Device Management are deployed locally on a Dell PowerEdge M620 Blade Server. By means of a standing TCP Socket using the MsgPack framework, shopfloor information is forwarded to the Gateway server, whose role is to act as a connector between the secure local network and the internet. The gateway server pushes this information to the GE Complex Event Processing deployed in the FI-cloud. This GE is used in its default configuration with the GE Publish/Subscribe Broker, also used in the cloud. Lastly, the GE Application Mashup will be used to collect aggregated events coming out of the Complex Event Processing GE and provide them for the local ERP system.

The following Generic Enablers (GE) were used:

  • The Gateway Data Handling GE which is implemented via the GEi Esper4-FastData will be used to gather shopfloor information from machine tools and robots and is locally integrated into the data gathering layer.
  • The Complex Event Processing GE which is implemented via GEi Proactive Technology Online over a cloud architecture analyses and aggregates real-time events.
  • The Publish/ Subscribe Broker GE, implemented via the Orion Context Broker GEi, is forwarding aggregated events from the CEP engine (Complex Event Processing) to consumer systems. It is integrated by a cloud architecture.
  • The Application Mashup GE, implemented by the WireCloud GEi for data exploitation is integrated by a cloud architecture. It describes high-level events provided by the CEP engine for fast integration with enterprise systems in the factory

 And the following Domain Specific enablers (DSE) were used at the trial site as well:

  • The DSE Modbus Connector integrates the shopfloor infrastructure with the GE Gateway Data Handling
  • The DSE Local Storage allows local storage as a backup for the events propagated to the cloud


  Take a look at the FINESCE trial site in Aachen and see an animated scheme of the smart factory. 

Further information: 

The Consolidated Trial Description represents the first public deliverable in the FINESCE project. It gives an overview of the infrastructures being used for the FINESCE field trials.