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Project of the Future: Industry 4.0

Industry is on the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution. Driven by the Internet, the real and virtual worlds are growing closer and closer together to form the Internet of Things. Industrial production of the future will be characterized by the strong individualization of products under the conditions of highly flexible (large series) production, the extensive integration of customers and business partners in business and value-added processes, and the linking of production and high-quality services leading to so-called hybrid products. German industry now has the opportunity to actively shape the fourth industrial revolution. We want to support this process with the "Industry 4.0" forward-looking project.

Presentation of the Strategy Recommendations to State Secretary Dr. Georg Schütte (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and State Secretary Ernst Burgbacher (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, MP) at the PTZ Berlin on 2 October 2012. Source: acatech/D.Ausserhofer.Presentation of the Strategy Recommendations to State Secretary Dr. Georg Schütte (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and State Secretary Ernst Burgbacher (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, MP) at the PTZ Berlin on 2 October 2012. Source: acatech/D.Ausserhofer.The Recommendations for Implementation represent the final report by the "Industry 4.0" Working Group, which was set up in January 2012 under the chairmanship of Dr. Siegfried Dais (Robert-Bosch GmbH) and Prof. Henning Kagermann (acatech - German Academy of Science and Engineering). The Working Group was initiated by the KOMMUNIKATION Promoters' Group of the Industry-Science Research Alliance (FU) in late 2011. Its purpose is to draft comprehensive strategic recommendations for implementing "Industry 4.0". "Industry 4.0" was conceived as a forward-looking project under the Federal Government's High-Tech Strategy, focussing on information and communication technology (informatics). It has been developed further to include production research and user industries.

The "Industry 4.0" project takes into account important aspects of location from a technological, industrial and social perspective. Germany already plays a leading role in the field of (software-intensive) embedded systems, particularly in the car industry and engineering. So-called Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) are becoming increasingly important in this context, that is to say the networking of embedded ICT systems both with one another and with the Internet. Along with increased automation in industry, the development of intelligent monitoring and autonomous decision-making processes is particularly important in order to be able steer and optimize both companies and entire value-adding networks in almost real time. The aim is to develop completely new business models and tap the considerable potential for optimization in the areas of production and logistics. Other factors include new services in important areas of application – such as the fields of action of mobility, health and climate and energy as identified in the High-Tech Strategy.

The Federal Government became active in the fields of Embedded Systems and the Internet of Things at a very early stage. The results of successful initiatives such as Digital Product Memory, Changeable Logistics Systems, Autonomic Computing, NextGenerationMedia and Excellence Clusters such as "Integrative Production Technology for High-Wage Countries" and "Cognition for Technical Systems" are good examples in this context. The most recent example is the "Intelligent Technical Systems" ("It's OWL") excellence cluster in East Westphalia-Lippe that was selected in January 2012.

Experts already presented a "National Roadmap Embedded Systems" in 2009 at the Federal Government's initiative. The realignment of research in the fields of production, services and work design covers the realization of the "Industry 4.0" project. The focus regarding the topic of "Smart Factories" is on intelligent production systems and processes and the realization of distributed and networked production sites. At the same time, strategic funding measures in the field of the Internet of Things will also address the "Industry 4.0" project. Under the heading "Smart Production", there will be a stronger focus on areas such as intra-company production logistics, human-machine interaction and the use of 3D in industrial applications. The close involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises as both providers and users of "smart" production methods is of key significance in this context. The "Industry 4.0" project is supported by the Industry-Science Research Alliance.
General Coordinators: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi)
Participating Ministry: Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI)
Budget: Up to €200 million have been made available for the "Industry 4.0" project in the respective financial plans.

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