The term Industry 4.0 covers all opportunities for digitally networked production – including all steps from assembly, maintenance and repair, to marketing and disposal. A smart factory where individual modules make decentralized and autonomous decisions based on the digital data.
Industry 4.0, the evolution of production and logistics processes doesn't need to remain a mere vision for you: For several years, we have gained experience with the value creation principles one-piece flow and small factory unit in our plants and constantly kept developing these principles. At the same time, we have continuously supported our customers in creating their versatile factory of the future. We provide you with comprehensive solutions and consistent smart factory services – all from a single source.
From Industry 1.0 to Industry 4.0
The first industrial revolution (Industry 1.0) is closely tied to the invention of the steam engine around the year 1800. For the first time, things could be moved by using the physical power generated from steam and water. Before this invention, people were dependent on the muscle power of humans and animals, or on the primary energy of water.
Approximately 100 years later, in the late 1900s, electricity conquered the industrial drive technology. Thus, Industry 2.0 is the start of mass production using electrical energy. Piecework and assembly line work were introduced to production facilities.
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." When Thomas Watson, Head of IBM, spoke these famous words in 1943, he could not have guessed how wrong his prognosis would turn out to be. In the 1970s, the third industrial revolution introduced the age of computer-assisted automation. This has causes production rates to increase significantly.
What is Industry 4.0?
The term Industry 4.0 covers all the new opportunities related to digitally networked production, such as assembly, maintenance, repair, marketing and disposal. This includes machinery and components that are no longer just networked and centrally controlled (Industry 3.0) but also make independent decisions decentrally based on digital information and incorporate them into the overall production system. Adaptive systems will be created over time.
In discussions relating to Industry 4.0 or digitalization, a number of terms are frequently used. Here are three topics that are important in this context:
Internet of Services
Since the Internet was made public for commercial purposes in the early 1990s, the amount of information and service offers has grown almost infinite. Besides textual content, the proportion of video and software data keeps growing.
Most people know and use internet services as private consumers, for example online banking or social media. But the Internet of Services (IoS) mainly serves for purposes of public administrators or industrial companies. It has strong ties to the terms "cloud computing" and "Big Data".
The vision behind these terms: To expand and develop the Internet of Services, so that it can be used more specifically for professional applications. This especially includes Internet-based software solutions and services.
For these services to be used, the continuous availability must be significantly improved and the infrastructure of the services must be highly secure.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is used to link physical objects such as everyday objects to the Internet, so that they can communicate. What's behind that: These objects are supposed to autonomously perform tasks and relieve humans in their work tasks.
These tasks may include the mere supply of data and information, but the objects performing tasks automatically or cooperating with other networked objects could be possible. A typical everyday situation, for example, would be a fridge that automatically signals when certain groceries are about to run out and need to be added to the shopping list. To continue the thought of networking, said fridge could also automatically order the relevant groceries at a nearby supermarket. Another well known example are wearables, such as fitness trackers worn at the wrist. They collect data including for example the pulse frequency or number of steps, and transmit them to the smartphone of the owner, which then processes the data into diagrams and graphs.
While home users take advantage of more and more intelligent home technology and turn their homes into so-called smart homes, industrial users are interested in realizing a smart factory. In a smart factory, the Internet of Things allows for machines and smart devices to exchange data and, based on this data, autonomously recognize tasks and perform them.
A cyber-physical system (CPS) is a system of mobile and stationary objects, devices, machines, or logistics components. These components have embedded technologies that allow them to communicate via the Internet and use Internet services. In addition, they can network with each other and make decentralized, autonomous decisions in collaboration with humans.
These intelligent systems are crucial for Industry 4.0 and smart factories. Sensors, actuators and networked software solutions form the basis of this.