Industry 4.0 for beginners
While Industry 4.0 (also referred to as Advanced/Smart Manufacturing or the Industrial Internet of Things) is undeniably the way of the future for all areas of manufacturing, many SMEs are still wary of embracing it. Germany is responding to this challenge with a range of initiatives that provide information on how SMEs can best implement Industry 4.0.12 Feb 2016
"What is the benefit of Industry 4.0 for my organization?" It’s a commonly asked question, and one to which Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is happy to provide answers. Using a recent study titled Realizing the Potential of Adopting Industry 4.0 in SMEs as a starting point, the Ministry has developed an Industry 4.0 quick-check tool that companies can use to rank their objectives and gain a tailored overview of the potential benefits of Industry 4.0.
Targeted help is also available from Germany’s industry associations. The German Engineering Federation (VDMA), for example, has created a VDMA Industry 4.0 Forum on its website. The Forum is a microsite for all of the Association’s various Industry 4.0 activities and publications, including, most notably, a handy brochure entitled Industry 4.0 – A Guide to Implementation in SMEs .
The Guide is a tool that helps small and medium-sized plant and mechanical engineering firms to create Industry 4.0 implementation plans and business models. Among much else, it recommends the formation and development of project teams comprising employees from production engineering and IT with a view to generating new ideas from close interdisciplinary networking and dialogue.
The report also points out that decisions on implementing Industry 4.0 projects need to be initiated by management and that the projects themselves need to be adequately and appropriately staffed.
In another publication entitled Industry 4.0 in Practice – Solutions for Industrial Applications , the VDMA shows its members a number of specific solutions for industrial practice, focusing on the key areas of production processes, automation and condition monitoring, planning, and IT security.
Industrial practice will also be high on the agenda at HANNOVER MESSE 2016. Themed "!Integrated Industry – Discover Solutions," the 2016 season of the world’s leading trade show for industrial technology will feature exhibits of more than 100 Industry 4.0 applications. There will also be an Industry 4.0 Forum, where industry professionals from all around the world will present the latest Industry 4.0 developments, providing a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration for beginners and experts alike.
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