Learning factories have an important role in the development of Industry 4.0, providing a rich environment where researchers and companies can collaborate and test (in multiple scenarios) the application of cutting-edge technologies (e.g. the internet of things, big data, collaborative robots, additive manufacturing, simulation modeling). The purpose of this paper is to identify and describe testbeds and proof-of-concept experiments, mainly related to simulation modeling, developed in learning factories to support Industry 4.0 deployment. It also aims to present the lab shared by Produtique Québec and the Center of Excellence in Innovative Manufacturing Enterprise Management (CEGEMI), located at Sherbrooke, Canada, identifying its potential to conduct simulation modeling research and to promote the digitalization of manufacturing companies. This research combines a
literature review with a case presentation. For the literature review, data were collected through electronic data sources to analyze the development of Industry 4.0 learning factories and to identify existing Industry 4.0 testbeds and proof-of-concept experiments documented in the scientific literature. As for the case presentation, site visits and interviews were conducted to understand how the lab can support applied research and companies’ transition to Industry 4.0. The literature review and case presentation show the relevance of leaning factories to develop applied research and to deploy Industry
4.0, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) that tend incrementally to move towards digitalization. Moreover, it describes how learning factories can incorporate and test a wide range of Industry 4.0’ technologies through testbeds and proof-of-concept experiments, supporting experimental validation of different artifacts, such as simulation modeling frameworks.