How does Industry 4 0

Industry 4.0 - this is how networked production works

The complete networking of all machines with one another, without a central control, is the core of Industry 4.0. But what does it bring in practice?

Technological progress is advancing at breakneck speed and is changing our lives - whether privately or professionally. First and foremost is digitization, which has become an indispensable part of modern production processes. If Germany wants to keep up on the world market, the entire industry has to undergo optimization. Experts speak of a new revolution in this process - "the factory of tomorrow" or Industry 4.0 for short.

Industry 4.0 - what is it?

Industry 4.0 sounds like a vision of the future, but it is quite feasible and is already being practiced by many companies - current examples can be found below in the article. The term itself emerged from a research project by the federal government and means the almost complete digitization of industrial production. The aim is to enable all manufacturing processes to run independently. Machines communicate with each other by collecting and processing data independently. The software-based product development is followed by fully automatic production including packaging and labeling using a modern labeling machine. Even recognizing and correcting errors and disruptions in the production process is possible with Industry 4.0.

Why the name Industry 4.0?

The development of industrial production is divided into revolutionary phases by experts.

  • Industry 1.0
    It all started with the mechanization, i.e. the support of human labor with machines and tools. However, at that time the machines were only used to supply energy.
  • Industry 2.0
    After or with mechanization came the Mass production. This made it possible to meet high volume requests for a single product.
  • Industry 3.0
    In the automation the industrial revolution went one step further. Artificial systems were used in this phase in order to be able to better control processes.
  • Industry 4.0
    The core of Industry 4.0 is Networking of different technologies, especially the use of intelligent machines and service robots.

How does Industry 4.0 work?

The human workforce is relieved because service robots take over tasks that are labor-intensive or that would cost a great deal of time. This not only increases the quantity of production, but also improves product quality thanks to the precise, autonomous manufacture of the products. Likewise, the processes in delivery, logistics and shipping can be optimized, for example with driverless transport vehicles.

While all production processes used to be controlled centrally, mostly by the plant and machine operator, this task is carried out independently in the Industrie-Fabrik 4.0. Thanks to these modern technologies - also known as the Internet of Things - it is possible to network physical and virtual objects with one another. Even the reordering of required production equipment from external suppliers is done digitally and completely without human intervention.

What does Industry 4.0 bring?

Industry 4.0 is intended to secure competitive advantages for Germany as a business location and thus increase growth opportunities. Thanks to the introduction of modern communication technology, enormous increases in productivity are expected. Experts assume up to 30 percent by 2025. The digitization of industry makes it possible to work more transparently, more efficiently and in real time with customers, suppliers and business partners. Errors are avoided and costs are minimized.

Industry 4.0 - company examples from practice

As mentioned at the beginning, many companies are already using Industry 4.0. Even if not all processes can be digitized immediately, some introductory steps have a positive effect. Here are a few examples, compiled on a map from the Industry 4.0 platform.

  1. F&M Maschinenbau GbR - Berlin
    The use of barcode scanners and open source hardware reduced the acquisition costs. Through the use of intelligent software, open orders, required external services and production times are always kept in view.
  2. guupis GmbH & Co. KG - Potsdam
    The company develops and markets hardware and software products. By networking experts, service providers and companies, faster value creation is achieved.
  3. smartPORT logistics - Hamburg
    Completely networked infrastructure of the Port of Hamburg - this enables faster processing and increased goods turnover.
  4. ABB STOTZ-KONTAKT GmbH - Heidelberg
    In the branch of ABB STOTZ-KONTAKT GmbH in Heidelberg, a new monthly line with intelligent automation was created, which enables the cost-effective production of large and small series.