Five Sharp for a Nominee: Building a Virtual Factory Demonstrator

Meet one of our four nominees for The Otto Mønsted Foundation's MADE Award 2020: Emre Yildiz. He is nominated for designing and developing a virtual factory demonstrator that makes it easier and faster to design and plan the engineering of a factory. The winner of the award will be announced September 24 (att. this event is cancelled and will be replaced by an online event this fall).

Counting down to The Otto Mønsted Foundation’s MADE Award, MADE introduces our four nominees through our series “Five Sharp for a Nominee”.

In this article we meet Emre Ylildiz who is nominated for his participation in the MADE Digital demonstration project “Virtual Factory: A Systemic Approach to Building Smart Factories”.

According to Professor and workstream leader Charles Møller, Emre Yildiz Virtual Factory simulations enable engineers from all over the world to meet and manufacture, train, design, validate and verify simulations. The industrial partner in the project, Vestas, was excited about the results of Emre Yildiz demo:

“Decreasing time, complexity and physical builds by virtual prototyping, efficient and accurate engineering on process, layout, facility and production system design could be listed some of the primary outcomes of the demo. Thus, the expected industrial potential of the research is proven by successful demonstration. The utilisation of virtual factory concept is now seriously being consideration by the Vestas management as a crucial tool in reducing time-to-market,” writes Christian N. Reventlow Head of Vestas Manufacturing Systems in the nomination of Emre Yildiz.

The Otto Mønsted Foundation’s MADE Award

  • The award will be presented to a Ph.D. student or Postdoc working with one of the five Danish universities (AAU, AU, CBS, DTU and SDU) in MADE.
  • The winner is announced on September 24 2020 in the House of Industry in Copenhagen (att. this event is cancelled and will be replaced by an online event this fall).
  • The first prize winner will receive 100,000 DKK and the second prize winner will receive 50,000 and both prize winners will receive a diploma and an art price.


  • Part of MADE Workpackage 5 in MADE Digital
  • Title: ” Virtual Factory: A Systemic Approach to Building Smart Factories”
  • Timeline: February 2018 – January 2021
  • Partners: Aalborg University and Vestas Wind Systems A/S.

MADE asked Emre Yildiz five sharp questions to learn more about him and the project.

What is your project all about?

The aim of the project is to discover how to design and develop virtual twins of actual factories. This will make it possible for experts to walk through and interact with digital twin-based highly complex and dynamic factory models in an immersive virtual reality. We achieve this vision using available state-of-the-art technologies such as modelling and simulation, digital twin, and virtual reality and by integrating data across the manufacturing value chain. 

Why is it important?

In the age of digitalisation, the only permanent competitive advantage is to adapt to ever-changing conditions. Therefore, manufacturing industries must produce more complex products, with more dynamic and complex processes and systems. Furthermore, they need to implement changes faster than ever while production is still running. Virtual Factories can provide realistic virtual environments that enable design, simulation, and optimisation of highly complex, dynamic, and holistic what-if scenarios.

How will your project help the industry?

The project creates the opportunity to make Virtual Factory demonstrations performed in real industrial cases, which can be evaluated by industry experts. The results show that the concept has huge potential to decrease physical builds by virtual prototyping and reduce time to market through concurrent engineering and collaborative VR training.  Moreover, Virtual Factories can also support efficient and accurate engineering of design, configuration, simulation and optimisation of process, product, and system models.

How far are you and what will be your next step?

We have completed the concept design, development of a Virtual Factory demo, demonstrations, and an evaluation of the concept in several industrial cases. We are now working on the last phase – to disseminate the knowledge that we have discovered. Since Vestas is starting to implement the Virtual Factory concept, we are also consulting the case company to develop a feasible implementation strategy and a roadmap.

How will you use the money, if you win the award?

I have considered three options: (1) A study visit to an international research institution (ETH, Cambridge, Milano Polytechnic, etc.) together with few PhD fellows from AAU. (2) A summer school programme or a short-term certificate/study program related to the next phase of Virtual Factory project (managing digital transformation) in a prestigious international research institution. Or (3) a study visit to an international company (Siemens, Boeing/Airbus, GE Digital, etc.), which represents state-of-the-art within the virtual/digital factory area together with few PhD fellows from AAU.

About nominee: Emre Yildiz

  • Holds a M.Sc. in Management Science and Engineering from Tsinghua University in Bejing and a BSc in Management Information Systems, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Is currently working as a a PhD Fellow at the Institute of Materials and Production at Aalborg University.
GGet a closer look at the design of the a virtual factory demonstrator that makes it easier and faster to design and plan the engineering of a factory. The demonstrator, is a result of the MADE Digital WP5 project that is planned to be completed in January 2021.

Other news