Industrie 4.0: "We have achieved a lot and have plans for even more."

Prof. Dr. Dieter Wegener in a short interview on the subject of Industrie 4.0.

Prof. Dr. Dieter Wegener, Chairman of the ZVEI Industrie 4.0 Management Cirlce

Prof. Wegener, the term "Industrie 4.0" has been on everyone's lips for several years. The Hannover Fair, which takes place this year at the end of April, will also use the topic as a driving force in 2018. At the end of 2013, the Industrie 4.0 Management Circle was established in the ZVEI to promote Industrie 4.0. What exactly is behind it?

Industrie 4.0 stands for the complete digitisation and integration of the industrial value chain. This is what we are working on in the ZVEI Industrie 4.0 Management Circle, where we have been creating groundbreaking concepts for the digitisation of production for over four years. Together we have developed the Reference Architecture Model Industrie 4.0 (RAMI 4.0) and the Industrie 4.0 component - models that are now known and employed nationally and internationally as milestones in the digitisation of production.

How exactly does your work affect companies in the electrical industry?

With our work we facilitate the entry into digital economy for companies in German industry as a whole. On the one hand, the aim is to create the framework conditions for interoperability of devices – i.e. the ability to network different systems as seamlessly as possible - in production, the so-called shop floor. On the other hand, it is about connecting shop floor with information and communication technology (ICT), the so-called office floor. Such combination of ICT with automation technology enables continuously rising levels of networking - within and between production plants, from supplier to customer. This is accompanied by the digitalisation of products and service offerings. It thus makes the Internet of Things and Services a reality and data-based business models easier and more efficient to implement.

All previous results of the ZVEI Management Circle have been published in via the Platform Industry 4.0 and in parts also internationally. They are essentially accepted. We are now continuing our successful work with the 3i strategy. In this strategy, we have set our targets for 2020.

What exactly does the 3i strategy include?

The strategy comprises three objectives: implementation, internationalization and pursuit of innovation policy objectives.

What does that mean in detail?

By implementation we mean the joint implementation of our previous results with our partners from user industries, the ICT industry and their respective associations VDMA and Bitkom.

Together with the Platform Industry 4.0, the Labs Network and the Standardization Council Industry 4.0, internationalisation means that we are making our work on Industrie 4.0 even better known worldwide.

It is gratifying that Industrie 4.0 initiatives similar to the Platform Industry 4.0 also emerged in other countries last year. In Europe, the close cooperation between the European initiatives Industrie du Futur (France), Piano Industria 4.0 (Italy) and the German Platform Industrie 4.0 is a pioneering example. The aim is to jointly drive forward digitisation of the industry in Europe. Because for this we need cross-company, cross-industry and cross-border initiatives.

Finally, we formulate innovation policy objectives of the electrical industry for Industrie 4.0 with regard to digital change in standardisation and data economy, cyber security and education policy issues.

We have a lot of plans: we want to achieve all three goals by 2020.

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