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A lack of M2M standards is putting the brakes on Industry 4.0. HANNOVER MESSE 2015 is here to change that.

Anton S. Huber compares the journey toward Industry 4.0 to "open heart surgery". In his book, Industry 4.0, the CEO of the Siemens Digital Factory division writes that numerous barriers must be overcome during ongoing development and manufacturing in order to make the digital company a reality. "The greatest barriers today exist between inconsistent data silos in specialist divisions and processes, between engineering fields, and between the global standards used by companies," writes Huber.

Since 2013, German companies and industry associations have been developing ideas on the Industry 4.0 Platform in order to advance the industrial revolution. In the digital race with the USA and China the progress being made by industrial companies is much too slow. Corporations complain that medium-sized enterprises are putting the brakes on development.

The Industry 4.0 Platform points to a lack of standards for machine-to-machine communication (M2M) as an obstacle to Industry 4.0. However, due, among other things, to concerns regarding antitrust laws, corporations have not been able to reach any consensus. In order to change this, the industry wants to continue their talks under a political umbrella. Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister of Economics promised a "broader dialog" on Industry 4.0 in October 2014. In December it was announced that the talks will be transferred into a newly created "Industry 4.0 Dialog Platform". "The first event is scheduled to take place at Hannover Messe 2015 and the concept is being drawn up at present together with the relevant industry associations," stated the Federal Ministry of Economics in an article in Welt am Sonntag.

"Integrated Industry – Join the Network" is the lead theme in April of the world’s largest industrial trade show. M2M standards are on the agenda along with data security and the search for new business models. "Increasingly, companies that get their products to market the quickest and hence stay ahead of the competition will be those which are able to form close networks with all stakeholders in their production process," says Dr. Jochen Köckler, Member of the Managing Board at Deutsche Messe AG.

Not only Industrial Automation with its special display Industrial IT, but also the flagship fairs MDA, Energy, Digital Factory and Industrial Supply will focus on Industry 4.0. "HANNOVER MESSE 2015 will showcase the great innovative power that all sectors of industry can unleash if suppliers, manufacturers and customers join together to form networks of communication and collaboration with the common goal of optimizing products and solutions," says Jochen Köckler.

The supplying industry is familiar with the terms cooperation and networks. For example, at the special display SystemPartner at Industrial Supply, Dutch suppliers will demonstrate their approach to system engineering. A German example for networking between suppliers and manufacturers can be found at the special display "WeP – Value-adding Partner Contitech" in Hall 6.

Exhibitors at Digital Factory demonstrate what the merger of information technology and automation can look like. "Since its premiere in 2003, Digital Factory has successfully established itself as the leading international trade show for integrated processes and IT manufacturing solutions for the networked industry. It is therefore the foundation of Industry 4.0 technologies," says Marc Siemering, Senior Vice-President, HANNOVER MESSE. The scope of Digital Factory ranges from innovations and initial ideas with CAx, to production planning and control with MES and ERP, simulations and forecasts using virtual reality and 3D models of products and factories, to the management of product and manufacturing data across the entire life-cycle using PDM and PLM.

One example of Industry 4.0-compatible exhibits at MDA is given by Dirk Spindler, Senior Vice-President R&D and Member of the Management Board, Schaeffler Industrial. "One of our main focuses is on developing drive components with integrated miniaturized sensors. Our first sensor bearings are ready to go into production." Another focus is on networking plants and machinery with central information systems so that large amounts of data can be shared and transferred. "It's all about using intelligent networking," says Spindler.

Digital Factory