Welcome to AllFactory

Aquaponics 4.0 Learning Factory


We’re Researching

This learning factory revolves around the production systems focusing on vertical farming and, more specifically, sustainable, environmentally friendly Aquaponics 4.0 systems and processes. The target engineering systems provide effective designs, tools, and methods for the growth of various selected crops, i.e., lettuce and basil, Strawberries, and tomatoes.


Years of Experience


Aquaponics 4.0 Learning Factory

Aquaponics 4.0 Learning Factory, also known as AllFactory, is the only learning factory in the world focusing on autonomous aquaponics from the engineering perspective. Dr. Rafiq Ahmad is the founder and director of AllFactory, initially established at the University of Alberta. It is factory-in-a-lab transdisciplinary research, training, and learning factory investigating Aquaponics 4.0-related systems. AllFactory provides a unique Aquaponics vertical farming method and is a new sustainable and green farming technique that uses stacked layers of plants to improve plant yield per unit area while reducing required resources. Compared to conventional farming, vertical farming can result in a 70% reduction in water and fertilizer consumption per plant produced. Aquaponics combines aquaculture (farming of fish) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil), a technique to grow plants with aquaculture effluent. This technique claims to have a high water efficiency, is pesticide-free, and reduces the use of fertilizers.

Topics for Research

The Aquaponics Learning Factory enables high-end research in both engineering and education, as well as automation, production, artificial intelligence, and systems in the aquaponics domain. The transdisciplinary approach to aquaponics system design and education prepared for this learning factory is based on hands-on activities and bloom's taxonomy. It allows for a comparative analysis between serious games (gamification), experiential learning, and cognitive sciences. These tasks will be performed by professors, industry professionals, schoolteachers, graduate students, and groups of students alike. On the other hand, research on novel automation and Industry 4.0 applications to the aquaponics concept is enabled using the proposed learning factory concept. Technologies such as digital twins, IoT networks, intelligent decision making, sustainability, robotics, knowledge modelling (ontologies), and autonomous systems are at the core of this environment's development, testing, and validation.

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“Exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

Director and Founder


Dr. Rafiq Ahmad

Associate Professor

Dr. Rafiq Ahmad is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alberta. He is the director and founder of the Aquaponics 4.0 Learning Factory (AllFactory). He has obtained his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Ecole Centrale de Nantes, France, and Post-doctorate from the University of Luxembourg.
Dr. Rafiq is a board member of the International Society of Automation (ISA-Edmonton section, Co-UofA Student Section Advisor), Speciality editor in various international journals and conferences.

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