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Industry 4.0 Initiatives

Post:2015.04.09 Hits:505

 Industry 4.0 Initiatives

During the age of computer-controlled production sequences, abbreviations like CAM, CAD and CNC are a common part of manufacturing reality. When the term “Industry 4.0” made its first public appearance at the 2011 Hanover Trade Fair, the associated content was new to only a certain extent. The targeted results of the “4th industrial revolution” are now commonplace at many companies in the high-tech industries—and they’re undergoing continuous further development.

The idea of globally networked production processes by means of which machines communicate with each other directly via the Internet of Things (IoT) and forward data acquired with sensors and learn from each other at first sounds like science fiction. Nevertheless, many of the factors which are seen as prerequisites for Industry 4.0 are already a reality. And the reassuring news is that it doesn’t (yet) work without human involvement.

Industry is already working with highly complex, computer-aided, and to a much greater extent, computer-controlled processes. CNC milling machines are highly precise CAD programs that convert 2D plans into 3D models—from materials management, planning and production, right on up to sales logistics, none of these sequences would be conceivable without a computer.

However, combining them is new. Data from processes which were logged and processed separately in the past are now collected at central computers, where they’re evaluated and combined by complex software systems. Entire sequences can be fully monitored and controlled in this way. And this will now be followed by global networking of the machines?

Development of an Industry 4.0 standard is a harmonization process (i.e., worldwide standardization of technical data communication). The unmanageable amounts of data resulting from industrial data collection at various companies, which accumulate on a daily basis, the so-called big data, would have to be channeled and prepared in order to be made available as smart data in a usable form. The experts see this as one of the major challenges. Specialists are of the opinion that the creation of an Industry 4.0 standard will take at least another 10 years.

Standards exist already which are intended to regulate certain areas of the field of electronics. For example, DIN EN 61690-2 appeared already in 2001 and specifies the data exchange format for the development of electronic circuits, namely the electronic design interchange format (EDIF). But this has nothing to do with interdisciplinary data exchange.

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