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Industrie 4.0 (Industry 4.0) is a key high-tech manufacturing initiative introduced in 2011 by the German Federal Government. Industry 4.0 “is a term applied to a group of rapid transformations in the design, manufacture, operation and service of manufacturing systems and products.” This initiative encourages manufacturers of all sizes to achieve efficiencies in maintenance, operations, and energy savings. Cyber-physical systems with sensors are among the key digital technologies that are leveraged in Industry 4.0.

Another major focus of Industry 4.0 is mining the data or information generated by the assets and applying real-time analytics to predict, for instance, failures in maintaining assets. With connected devices and assets, Industry 4.0 envisions active monitoring of data generated by the entire supply and value chain as a way of managing logistics and enacting real-time controls.

We could define Industry 4.0 as the digital transformation of manufacturing, leveraging third platform technologies, such as Big Data/Analytics and innovation accelerators, such as the (Industrial) Internet of Things, and enabling the convergence of IT (Information Technology), OT (Operational Technology), robotics, data and manufacturing processes to realize connected factories, smart decentralized manufacturing and the digital supply chain in the information-driven cyber-physical environment of the fourth industrial revolution.

The following features of Industrie 4.0 should be implemented:

  • Horizontal integration through value networks 
  • End-to-end digital integration of engineering across the entire value chain 
  • Vertical integration and networked manufacturing systems.

The Industry 4.0 had the following Workgroups

Co-Chair Henning Kagermann and Siegfried Dais
WG 1 – The Smart Factory: Manfred Wittenstein
WG 2 – The Real Environment: Siegfried Russwurm
WG 3 – The Economic Environment: Stephan Fische
WG 4 – Human Beings and Work: Wolfgang Wahlster
WG 5 – The Technology Factor: Heinz Derenbach

The working groups recommended actions needed in the following eight key areas:

  • Standardization and reference architecture: Industrie 4.0 will involve networking and integration of several different companies through value networks.
  • Managing complex systems: Products and manufacturing systems are becoming more and more complex. Appropriate planning and explanatory models can provide a basis for managing this growing complexity.
  • A comprehensive broadband infrastructure for industry: Reliable, comprehensive and high-quality communication networks are a key requirement for Industrie 4.0. Broadband Internet infrastructure therefore needs to be expanded on a massive local and national scale.
  • Safety and security: Safety and security are both critical to the success of smart manufacturing systems. It is important to ensure that production facilities and the products themselves do not pose a danger either to people or to the environment.
  • Work organisation and design: In smart factories, the role of employees will change significantly. Increasingly real-time oriented control will transform work content, work processes and the working environment
  • Training and continuing professional development: Industrie 4.0 will radically transform workers’ job and competence profiles. It will therefore be necessary to implement appropriate training strategies and to organise work in a way that fosters learning, enabling lifelong learning and workplace-based CPD.
  • Regulatory framework: Whilst the new manufacturing processes and horizontal business networks found in Industrie 4.0 will need to comply with the law, existing legislation will also need to be adapted to take account of new innovations. The challenges include the protection of corporate data, liability issues, handling of personal data and trade restrictions.
  • Resource efficiency: Quite apart from the high costs, manufacturing industry’s consumption of large amounts of raw materials and energy also poses a number of threats to the environment and security of supply. Industrie 4.0 will deliver gains in resource productivity and efficiency.

Now Industry 4.0 requires answers and solutions for different topics: Man and labour, business - and strategy examples, how to handle the data-overflow, cyber-security, standards and interoperability, medium sized businesses and users, best practice cases, etc.

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