A new industrial revolution is taking place
In Germany a new joint platform has been initiated and its launch took place at the late Hannovermesse 2013 and underlined the fact that a new industrial revolution is taking place challenging industrial sectors. We give you the most important facts. What is underway in Germany is certainly also valid for other industrialised countries
At a joint press conference BITKOM, VDMA and ZVEI revealed the details of an evaluation of technological, economical challenges and these will also influence the German human society. In conclusion some recommendations were made on how the 4th industrial revolution can be managed. The project was supported by German Minister of Sciences Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, acatech President Prof. Dr. Henning Kagermann and the Board Member of the union IG Metall, Detlef Wetzel. Also present were VDMA President Dr. Thomas Linder and Dr. Klaus Mittelbach, Chairman of the Management of ZVEI. With the moderation Dr. Bernhard Rohleder, Managing Director of BITKOM, has been entrusted.
The voices and statements
Dr. Wanka holds the Platform Industry 4.0 for strategic for the future of the German Industry and is convinced that the innovative force of the industry will be able to be a leader in the relevant new technologies to be developed.
Dr. Kagermann commented the evaluation and its results, and Detlef Wetzel’s statement was in favour of attributing value to human labour, a fact that will be decisive for a successful transformation. He also stressed the fact the future development will allow great possibilities for R&D and production, all ingredients to not only keep these elements in Germany but to enhance them and to secure employment. Dr. Lindner from VDMA underlined the targeted selection of industrial production as a strategic important field of application in research and application and a dedication to production in Germany. Dr. Mittelbach gave a breakdown of the construction of the platform Industry 4 and that it represents an imminent example on how the traditional frontiers among sectors are fading in favour of cross sector activities and new forms of collaboration, also between associations. It is the defined aim of the Platform to achieve quickly an economical transformation of the vision of Industry 4.0.
Dr. Rohleder (BITKOM) stated that Germany as a location has its strengths at technological crossings. And that there will be considerable new chances when mechanical engineering and electrical technology will join forces with the IT industry and the joint management will help to establish relevant networks. He further declared that the industrial sector is confronted with a massive transformation and the future industrial revolution will be driven by networks and the net. He stressed that the contributions of the IT industry will be a distinctive element to form Industry 4.0, because it delivers the necessary infrastructures, processing know how and embedded systems, including the security for this highly complex system. IT providers will support the manufacturing industry with their knowledge aggregated in other sectors especially in view to process and organisational aspects.
An actual survey initiated by BITKOM revealed that over 80 % of the IT companies consider Industry 4.0 as a promising field in the years ahead. Already today, each 10th company offers specific solutions for Industry 4.0 and further 13 % are actually developing relevant offers. Rohleder stated that a super broad network, with highest dependability and connection stability and slight idleness is the point sine qua non for success. In addition a flexible legal framework has to be elaborated for the adequate management of big data in companies.
Also Chancellor Angela Merkel was provided with the findings of Industry 4.0 and its vision. Dr. Kagermann (acatech, German academy of technological sciences) presented the finding that Germany is one of the most competitive industrial locations worldwide, because of the capabilities of companies to master complex, cooperative and geographically dispersed industrial processes and making use of information and communication technology already over years. In the future companies will forge machines, production and factories into a comprehensive network. In addition the firms will fine tool production relevant processes to the dot. Intelligent products will become innovative platforms for new net based services and business models. The strengths as supplier for the world’s manufacturer and developing and manufacturing embedded systems are an excellent basis for the future developments to achieve the status of a pioneer on a new scale of industrialisation, named Industry 4.0 to become, respectively to remain the exporting nation number one, with the location Germany as further attribute.
Results and recommendations
The revealed conclusions and recommendations are a dual future strategy to achieve the latest statement above leading market and leading offerings. This means, not only for the global players, but also for SMEs. Another recommendation is the pooling of research and development of autonomous, fully describable, context depending and controllable production systems.
The 4th industrial revolution is comparable to the introduction of the vapour driven machine in the 18th century, serial production at the end of the 19th century and the development of electronic control systems in the second half of the 20th century.
Industry 4.0 allows the individual manufacturing of lot size one at costs of a mass product and customer oriented optimisation of added value processes in real time. Planned active, autonomous and self organising production units will replace passive systems of today. The intelligent product will support the production process actively. Production will become highly flexible and productive, resource protecting and urbanely compatible. The manufacture of the future will follow the pulse of the human being.
Another recommendation and finding of the working group was the area of political measures to be taken such as reference architecture, security and law as well as education and permanent education, work and company organisation. The new era will demand for new working and social structures with a high degree of self responsible work combined with decentralised management structures to allow employees a larger space to form their work and under the motto “better rather than cheaper”. Anyhow, the competition is taking upon an enormous effort to technological ascending (China), particularly in mechanical engineering, and therefore it is necessary to keep on top with Germany’s technological development.
The initiative’s origin
Upon initiative of the German government Industry 4.0 was formed by the promotion group communication of the research union economy – sciences in January 2011. The promoters founded jointly with acatech the working group Industry 4.0 and in January 2012 the Co-Presidency of Dr. Siegfried Dais (Robert Bosch GmbH) and Prof. Henning Kagermann has been established. The cooperation of companies from different sectors, associations, scientists of various disciplines and unions was groundbreaking. With the presentation of the evaluation and conclusions the working group terminates its tasks and Platform 4.0 will take over the transformation processes under the umbrella of three associations BITKOM (IT), VDMA (engineering) and ZVEI (electricial industry).
Of course, there are many more details that will be of importance to enhance the project. However TextileFuture finds it is remarkable that the interested parties across industrial sectors, scientists and associations, have managed to find a common goal to actively design the future of Germany as a manufacturing nation and to keep the industrial sector, especially mechanical engineering, on top of the world’s list. TextileFuture is convinced that also other industrialised countries will follow this path for their enhancement of the industrial sector. Don’t forget, parts of it are textile relevant, namely textile machinery and accessories, textiles and clothing!