In Germany, a large-scale project will be launched in 201 : the fourth industrial revolution. Yes, just that. From the inception of the industry, from mechanization to the mass production is finally initiated the industry 4.0 project, which is eagerly awaited by many manufacturers.
Industry 4.0, “Smart factory”, what is this supposed to mean?
The industry 4.0, also often called “smart factory ” is a complete overhaul of the organization of the means of production within the company, and in other words, a complete automatisation of the factory. This revision implies a total computerization of the company, as well as the automation of all machines that should be from now supported by an intranet system of connection and a communication network. These machines will be commanded by computer, called in the industrial jargon CNC (computer numerical command), but will also be able to optimize autonomously.This project, whose name was heard for the first time in 2011, was born during the Hannovermesse, one of the largest industrial fairs in the world that takes place in Hanover, Lower Saxony. This project, which should represent in 2014 an investment of about 200 million Euros, is a governmental initiative launched in 2005 in the frame of the excellence policy of German universities.
The application of the new industrial model: the example of Siemens
In Germany, one on five industrial companies is already supported by an IT system. It is therefore not surprising that the information technology sector is booming. However, the phenomenon is just beginning, as the demand for services is exponentially increasing following the implementation of the “Smart factory” project.
An example of application of this pioneering project is to be found in manufactures belonging to the giant of the electronic industry Siemens, which introduced into the production process some principles of the so-called industry 4.0. Indeed, the company has introduced automation and interconnection of real output with digital models of its products in order to reduce its manufacturing error rate. It is now down to 12 defective products for one million produced, which on the one hand avoids waste of material, but also saves valuable time since the defective production being reduced to a ridiculous rate, it does not need to be produced again. This process also reduces the latency between the manufacturing process and the provision of the product.
In conclusion, it is a clear saving of time, material and labour.
But from a more general point of view, digital factories may aim to reduce their production costs, but smart factories also allow to reduce the energy consumption. Besides the machines’ accuracy should increase the quality of the products and should also afford to hire skilled workforce that Germany is currently trying to educate in order to ensure the establishment and maintenance of these smart factories. With its highly skilled labour and its smart factories, Germany should be able preserve its leadership in the machinery construction field on a long term basis.