Many companies like to talk about Industrie 4.0 - but it often remains very theoretical. The SmartFactoryKL technology initiative is different - here you can see Industrie 4.0 in action. But what exactly is a smart factory or intelligent factory? It's all about automated production, working in a network, standardized interfaces and a modular structure - but our presenter Felix Rother wanted to find out more. At the Hannover Messe, he talks to Prof. Dr.-Ing. Detlef Zühlke, who can safely be called the inventor of the Smart Factory. Find out more in the video!
Smart Factory is a merger of many companies. Ultimately, it is a network issue. The production of the future will take place in a network, and that doesn't just mean the technical network. The network of those involved must also fit together. Smart Factory is the platform on which the organization of these companies is organized. Many levels interlock here. Starting with the technical level, technical communication, contract design, security and the customer connection. The customer benefits from the Smart Factory. The customer configures their order online and wants to receive it promptly. This only works with local, highly flexible automation. Due to technical requirements, this can now be realized. This was started in 2005 - from the basic idea back then to the current system.
The system is similar to playing with Lego bricks, the modular principle works thanks to the same interfaces. The modules can be plugged together at will, no programming is required. The customer now configures his product, not the mass market as it used to be. This makes every product unique. Industry 4.0 was created in 2011. Internet technology served as the basis, which was transferred to the systems. The machines are configured according to the customer's online order. The system can be controlled from anywhere in the world. The technical side already exists, the important thing now is to bring it to the market. There are companies in the smart factory that are competitors but still participate in the network. The added value they derive from this is a great opportunity for everyone involved. Larger companies that offer several options have a competitive advantage. However, the large SME sector benefits from the breadth of the Smart Factory.
What are the limits of the Smart Factory? Product innovations in particular that require confidentiality become known to the competition at an early stage. The closer they come to demonstration, the more problems there are with confidentiality, which is generally a negative factor for cooperation. Finally, disclosure and transparent communication are important. Accordingly, the companies also gain insight. Platform, information and coordination are brought together in the network association. The aim is to get products onto the market quickly that are requested by customers. Technically, the Smart Factory is not yet at the desired 100 percent. The TSN demonstrator will be a great success. Time-Sensitive Networking will replace the old in the future. The opportunity in 5 years is plug and play. New participants will be able to join and work immediately thanks to the standardization of the systems.