CNC Competence Center


Digital Job-Shop 4.0

Machine hall © WZL/Winandy  

As part of the internal research and alignment strategy of the Machine Tool Laboratory WZL of the RWTH Aachen University, an industrial transfer area, the CNC Competence Center, has been established to verify and test the industrial applicability of developed solutions. Specifically, the CNC Competence Center at the WZL is the extension of the in-house mechanical workshop in the area of single-part and small series production.

The aim of the CNC Competence Center is, on the one hand, in the area of digital production in the context of Industry 4.0, to reflect the current state of the art in digitally supported production with regard to the individual manufacturing spectrum. In addition, within this transfer area, the solution approaches developed in the experimental research areas from the production sciences of the various chairs are adapted into a real production environment and tested for their industrial applicability as well as for their economic efficiency.

One of the focal points in the CNC competence center is the development and integration of a continuous digital CAD-CAM-NC chain in industrial and individual shop-floor operations. The integration of the implemented CAD-CAM-NC-chain is based on the structure of the classical automation pyramid and represents the entire product development process, with the aim of a continuous transparency from production planning to the finished product.

TDM / TLM, CAD, CAM, NC, MES and ERP, among others, are used within this value-added chain and take over the tasks of the respective layer within the adapted automation pyramid along the product creation process, for example rough production planning and subsequent detailed planning. Within current research topics, models and algorithms are developed which, based on automated big-data approaches, predict, for example, delivery and production times for the customer from the corresponding domains along the product creation process based on today's data availability, thus making the process transparent.

One focus of the CNC Competence Center deals with the creation of transparency of the real manufacturing process within the product development process and focuses on the area of process-parallel quality inspection of the manufactured component. Specifically, machine-internal data from the NC control system are linked with behavioral models of machine tools from the mechanical and control engineering area in order to simulate the real tool path in connection with a workpiece penetration simulation. This results in a virtual image or virtual twin of the manufacturing process in the context of the manufactured component based on real measured data, which allows process-parallel quality statements to be made.



  • Job-shop production operation
  • Continuous CAD-CAM-NC chain
  • High-frequency machine data acquisition on all machines
  • Central database structure for production data
  • Cloud connectivity
  • Test environment for new software tools and products
  • Process-parallel model-based data evaluation of all components