Industry 4.0 is about more than just improving existing products or processes through the use of digital technologies – it actually offers the opportunity to develop entirely new business models. For this reason, its implementation is of great strategic importance. We examine the current openness toward and the cultural interaction with Industry 4.0 using the following four criteria:
Successful implementation of Industry 4.0 enables distributed, highly automated production. Unlike in traditional production, smart workpieces will control and monitor the production process and, in the final expansion phase, guide themselves autonomously through production. This happens in the environment of the smart factory. The smart factory is a production environment in which the production systems and logistics systems largely organize themselves without human intervention. The smart factory relies on cyber-physical systems (CPS), which link the physical and virtual worlds by communicating through an IT infrastructure, the Internet of Things. Industry 4.0 also involves digital modeling through the smart gathering, storage, and processing of data. In this way, the smart factory concept ensures that information is delivered and resources are used more efficiently. This requires the real-time, cross-enterprise collaboration between production systems, information systems, and people. These integrated systems produce huge amounts of data that are processed, analyzed, and integrated into decision-making models.
A company’s progress in the area of the smart factory is measured using the following four criteria:
One hallmark of Industry 4.0 is the enterprise-wide and cross-enterprise integration of the physical and virtual worlds. The advent of digitization and the plethora of data it has brought to production and logistics have made it possible to introduce what are in some cases entirely new forms and approaches to production planning systems (PPS) and supply chain management (SCM). The technical requirements in production and production planning necessary to realize the self-controlling workpiece are known as smart operations.
Industry 4.0 readiness in the area of smart operations is determined using the following four criteria:
Smart products are a vital component of a unified “smart factory” concept facilitating automated, flexible, efficient production. Physical products are equipped with ICT components (sensors, RFID, communications interface, etc.) to collect data on their environment and their own status. Only when products gather data, know their way through production, and communicate with the higher-level systems can production processes be improved and guided autonomously and in real time. It also becomes possible to monitor and optimize the status of the individual products. This has potential applications beyond production alone. Using smart products during the usage phase makes new services possible in the first place – through communications between customers and manufacturers, for example.
Readiness in the area of smart products is determined by looking at the ICT add-on functionalities of products and the extent to which data from the usage phase is analyzed.
The objective of data-driven services is to align future business models and enhance the benefit to the customer. The after-sales and services business will be based more and more on the evaluation and analysis of collected data and rely on enterprise-wide integration. The physical products themselves must be equipped with physical IT so they can send, receive, or process the information needed for the operational processes. This means they have a physical and digital component, which in turn are the basis for digitized services in the usage phase of the products.
Readiness in the area of data-driven services is determined using the following three criteria:
Employees help companies realize their digital transformation and are the ones most affected by the changes of the digital workplace. Their direct working environment is altered, requiring them to acquire new skills and qualifications. This makes it more and more critical that companies prepare their employees for these changes through appropriate training and continuing education.
Readiness in the dimension of employees is determined by analyzing employees skills in various areas and the company’s efforts to acquire new skill sets.
50668 Cologne, Germany
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Dr. Karl Lichtblau
Commercial register: HR Cologne – HRB 30889
VAT ID: DE197824529
52074 Aachen, Germany
Phone: +49 241 47705-0
Fax: +49 241 47705-199
E-mail: info (@) fir.rwth-aachen.de
Professor Volker Stich, Dr.-Ing.
Ingo Kufferath-Kaßner (Chair)
VAT ID: DE 121 684 389
Court of registration: Aachen District Court, registration no.: VR1191
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Technology and programming
Mehrzad Koohestani, Pascal Singler (IW Consult)
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