How to use Industry 4.0 to drive the production of the future
Eberhard Klotz is the head of the Industry 4.0 campaign at Festo, a supplier of automation technology and industrial training and education programmes. In this article he discusses the company’s activities in IoT, its view of production of the future, benefits for original equipment makers (OEMs) and end-users and partners in industrial markets with Matt Wilkins, a senior analyst of IoT Research at Strategy Analytics
Matt Wilkins: Industry 4.0 is a key aspect of the implementation of the Internet of Things in the industrial market, what does Industry 4.0 mean to Festo?
Eberhard Klotz: At Festo we view Industry 4.0 as the process through which we get to the production of the future. Festo has a holistic view of the changes in the production world, considers different perspectives and, in addition to technology, also takes other key points into account, such as the interaction between man and machine, and the issue of training.
The real and virtual world are growing increasingly closer: modern information and communication technologies are merging with industrial processes, increasingly changing the production landscape and the interaction with individual customers.
Industry 4.0 brings together various activities under one umbrella and describes the change that is imposing new requirements on production systems, machines and people in many areas. Festo is part of the Industry 4.0 steering team that includes government ministries, several official bodies, along with Siemens, Bosch, SAP and Deutsche Telekom.
MW: What does production of the future look like?
EK: The first thing is that production systems will be fully connected. There will be intelligent, selfregulating and self-controlling components for plug-and-produce. Production plants will be highly flexible, allow for economical manufacturing of small batch sizes, fast balancing of the workload in a production network – including logistics, and fast adjustment to the orders in hand.
Finally, there will be comprehensive condition monitoring which helps to avoid or reduce downtime and optimises maintenance procedures and mobile maintenance. Essentially the faster we can be aware of an issue and analyse it, the faster we can implement a repair before a minor issue becomes a major one. Digital twins and a virtual set-up of a smart factory also allow pattern matching and detecting random errors, thus optimising downtime as well as process optimisation online.
MW: If Industry 4.0 is the process which takes us to the production of the future, that must surely require a constant focus on refining and developing?
EK: Festo has been at the forefront of factory automation for many years. The research department helps shape the production systems of the future. So it is looking at mechatronics, the latest simulation technologies, microsystem technology and intelligent components for Industry 4.0. In our view innovation management creates the necessary framework to turn good ideas, knowledge and technology into successful commercial products.
Our research activities include the ENTOC (Engineering Tool Chain for Efficient and Iterative Development of Smart Factories) research project, where the aim is to significantly reduce the time taken and complexity […]
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