"Made in Germany" counts as an important quality seal in the pharmaceutical, automotive, electronics, air and space industries, as well as in the mechanical engineering industry. Germany is leading in the equipment industry, but there are already important initiatives in the USA and Asia. In order for this to also apply in future, it is of crucial importance to recognize and develop the possibilities of Industrie 4.0 early. Because the change will come and we should take part in it. Only in this way can Germany safeguard the prospects that Industrie 4.0 brings with it, and thus also durably secure a top position in the international marketplace.
As part of the Industrie 4.0 evolution, often-mentioned great potential sounds highly promising. But a target-oriented introduction to the topic is not easy for manufacturing companies given the wide range of new possibilities. Examples of this are sensor technology, software, connectivity, collaboration and Internet technologies. Many of them are not automatically part of the already established core competences that were previously necessary in order to offer and efficiently manufacture excellent products with mostly hardware-oriented, technological unique selling points.
As an introduction to the topic, it is therefore especially important to identify where possible design fields are found in order to ask the right questions. These include, for example:
Whatever the answer looks like for your company – experts and practitioners agree in current studies: Digitization in the factories cannot be stopped. In future, the best integrated total solution will assert itself on the markets. That's why it is essential to consider the topics and possibilities already today.
A product becomes smart
Using the example of the development of a known product into a smart cyber-physical system, possible new added values (data with added value) and design fields can be clearly illustrated.
Our example product is an industrial forklift truck for internal logistics. Firstly, it consists of its physical components, e.g. electric motor, wheels, lifting gear, load area. In the further development, it was given intelligent components, such as control elements, sensors and an integrated operating system with user or maintenance interfaces. Finally, in the latest development step, network components with extensive (e.g. wireless) interfaces were added which enable communication with other products or systems. On the one hand, this enables the communication of various components of a product system with each other as well as the exchange of data with "third-party" systems.
Thus, the communication of the site location of arriving trucks, for example, could determine the point of time of the next use of the industrial forklift truck in the receiving area as well as the next possible free workspace as a delivery destination. This creates potential for the optimization of the imminent internal logistics processes by transmitting the external information (distance/site of the arriving truck) in combination with the in-house planning and control data (worklist of workspaces). In other words, real informational added value. In order to raise this potential, the following central challenges from the process perspective must be overcome:
The realization of the potential in your production networks requires a high degree of experience in dealing with the challenges mentioned and a strong identification with the topic of Industrie 4.0. Wassermann AG would like to support you as a strategic partner.
Use this opportunity and leave the beaten paths of the continuously advancing automation of already existing processes. It's high time to think of alternative scenarios in order to benefit from the new opportunities and possibilities in the best possible way. This means developing processes and business models that can only be achieved through the current technological requirements.
If this has awakened your curiosity, you can find out which of the aspects mentioned are already available in our software solutions here, and the direction in which we still want to further develop together with you here.