The Smart Manufacturing in Ecosystem (ÄVE) project had its roots in an acute and long-term shortage of skilled professionals in industry. According to a survey of the technology industry, 1,700 vocational school level and 1,700 AMK/DI people leave the industry per year as a net loss. A significant observation was the undocumented tacit knowledge of the oldest part of the entire profession, which is disappearing with retirement. The traditional field of mechanical engineering research is even considered "non-science" in some administrative and political circles, although in other parts of Europe it is seen as a critical success factor. The ÄVE research project is the first step in the reconstruction of the deep knowledge of mechanical engineering. ÄVE is simultaneously looking for world-class renewal in the digitalization of mechanical engineering and a return to the basic sciences that make it possible.