The 4th Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0, Unfolding at Hannover Messe 2014

  • February 19, 2014
  • Feature

By Bill Lydon, Editor

On February 11, 2014, along with dozens of other journalists from all over the world, I attended the 2014 Hannover Fair Preview Event in Berlin, Germany. The primary focus of the preview event, as well as the upcoming Hannover Messe, is the next steps for achieving the vision of integrated industry, also known as Industry 4.0 or the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Monique T.G. van Daalen, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to GermanyPartner Country

The 2014 Hannover Messe partner country is the Netherlands, and their motto for the event is “Global Challenges, Smart Solutions.” Monique T.G. van Daalen, Ambassador to Germany from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, addressed the preview attendees noting that they prefer to be referred to as the Netherlands rather than Holland. Holland is part of the twelve provinces in Western Europe, plus three islands in the Caribbean, that make up the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Germany and the Netherlands have been doing business for centuries, and the Netherlands is the largest direct investor in Germany.

Industry 4.0 - SmartFactoryKL

The Industry 4.0 term first appeared at Hannover Messe in 2011 when Professor Wolfgang Wahlster, Director and CEO of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, addressed the opening ceremony audience. The context of the term usage was how companies can be successful in a high wage region with global competition. He suggested that we must be in shape for the 4th Industrial Revolution that is being driven by the Internet.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Detlef Zuehlke (left), Scientific Director Innovative Factory Systems (IFS) at the German Research Center for Artificial IntelligenceAt the Hannover Messe 2014 Preview Event, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Detlef Zühlke, Scientific Director of Innovative Factory Systems (IFS) at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, presented concepts and progress on achieving the Industry 4.0 vision. Prof. Zühlke asserts that Industry 4.0 is the fourth industrial revolution started and led by Germany. The technology initiative called SmartFactoryKL e.V. has been established as an association to develop new ideas with partners and to put these ideas into practice in common projects.  The projects range from fundamental work on basic technologies to development of marketable products.

Contributors to this effort include 28 partners and sponsors, including Siemens, Harting, Cisco, Phoenix Contact, Festo, Belden, Rexroth, Beckhoff Automation, Emerson Process Management, and Weidmueller. Prof. Zühlke discussed the need for standards, including physical, mechanical, pneumatic, and communication, to accomplish more efficiency and functionality to achieve Industry 4.0. He cited standards that support these concepts, including OPC UA, WSDL, EDDL, and IEC 61499. He also discussed the need for flexible horizontal and vertical communications between controllers, field devices, and enterprise systems.

Prof. Zühlke defined the following four key Industry 4.0 paradigms:

Smart Product

The smart product will have an extensive memory built in to include requirements, production tasks, and operational data. The guiding idea of the smart product is to extend the role of the work piece to make it an active part of the system, and therefore the product itself is able to control its own production.

Smart Machine

The smart machine will be able to self-organize within the production network, and therefore achieve flexible and agile manufacturing. The smart machine becomes a Cyber-Physical System (CPS) with autonomous components and local control intelligence so it can communicate with other machines, production lines and products through open networks and semantic descriptions.

Smart Planner

The smart planner organizes production based on real-time production data.

Smart Operator

The smart operator uses technology to understand production through context-sensitive information and the enrichment of the real-world with virtual information, aka augmented reality. As a result, the steadily rising technical complexity can be handled to make better informed decisions and achieve better operations.

The vendor-independent technology initiative of the SmartFactoryKL by the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) works to put the key aspects of the 4th Industrial Revolution into practice. The main challenges of future industrial production can be seen in the handling of customized production with high variety and low production quantities and highly flexible requirements on production lines and processes, as well as extensive actionable information for the operator.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Detlef Zuehlke (left), Scientific Director Innovative Factory Systems (IFS) at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, Monique T.G. van Daalen (middle), the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Germany, and Dr. Jochen Koeckler (right), Member of the Board of Deutsche Messe AG, at the Hannover Messe Preview

Live Demonstration

The 2014 Hannover Fair central exhibit of the Forum Industrial IT in Hall 8 at stand D20 will feature a SmartFactoryKL production line that produces a high tech business card case.  The exhibit will demonstrate the application of Industry 4.0 concepts. Participating companies include Lapp, Phoenix Contact, Harting, Rexroth, Festo, Belden, Cisco, proALPHA, and Siemens. Devices and controllers will communicate over standard TCP/IP Ethernet. The entire production line will demonstrate the relevant aspects of the 4th Industrial Revolution, including innovative information and communication technologies. The modularly built production line shows the flexible production of an exemplary product, whose components (case cover, case base, printed circuit board) are handled, mechanically machined and assembled.

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