During last weeks Industrial IoT workshop preceding the ARC Forum in Orlando, Dr. Reinhold Achatz, member of the steering committee of the "Platform Industrie 4.0" and responsible for sustainable innovation and ThyssenKrupp presented a view on Industrie 4.0 from the perspective of a vertically integrated industry with both process and discrete processing activities.
Dr. Achatz first explained the name of the initiative, by enumerating the different revolutions that have taken place. He mentioned:
- Automation and the use of robots, and
- The improved organization and control of the chain of economic value added across the product life cycle
The Platform Industrie 4.0 was formed as a cooperation between three German industry associations Bitkom, VDMA, and ZVEI, with representation from industry and research.
The Platform's vision for Industrie 4.0 is the improvement of organization and control of the value chain across the product life cycle. The vision considers the availability of real-time information across (the network of actors in) the chain, and the ability to optimize value creation based on these data as the basis of Industrie 4.0. People, physical objects, applications, and services are the nodes in networks contributing to the value chain. In the vision, these are dynamic, real-time oriented and self-organizing, or self-optimizing, for various criteria, such as requirements, added value, and availability of resources.
Technically, embedded systems have evolved over time to networks, such as in the case of distributed process control systems (DCS), or multiple synchronized functions as in a car. These will, in the future, be more and more connected – so-called cyber-physical systems - and integrated via communication networks (Intranets or Internet).
ThyssenKrupp's objectives for Industrie 4.0 are the seamless communication and integration of processes, in other words becoming a digital enterprise within ten years, that will allow the company to:
- react more flexibly on customer request
- reduce cost and environmental footprint
- increase quality and throughput.
Specifically, this includes digitalization along three axes: the first is the production control or enterprise operations axis connecting business planning with operations management and manufacturing. The second axis is the smart factory and exchange across a network of factories and logistics functions. The third axis is the product (and asset) lifecycle from ideation, via portfolio management, requirements engineering and R&D, through production and servicing to end of product (or asset) life. Dr. Achatz cited many practical examples along the three axes that have been implemented already.
According to Dr. Achatz, the role of humans in the Industrie 4.0 context will evolve. Operators will receive improved support, giving optimal opportunities for informed decision making and exception handling.
Because concepts and technologies are available, Industrie 4.0 can be implemented step by step, starting today. Along the way, people will be educated further and a culture change will take place.
In an upcoming ARC Insight, we will report more in detail about both the concept Industrie 4.0 and its implementation in ThyssenKruppKeywords: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrie 4.0, ThyssenKrupp, Sustainability, Innovation, Benefits, Implementation, ARC Advisory Group