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Knud Lasse Lueth, the managing director of analyst firm IoT Analytics, recently interviewed Eberhard Klotz, the head of the Industry 4.0 Campaign at Festo, to discuss success stories but also obstacles and critical success factors in Industry 4.0
Knud Lasse Lueth: Industry 4.0 remains a hot topic of interest, often mentioned along the same lines as smart factory, IoT and digitalisation. Is it all the same to you or do you distinguish between these terms?
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 and qualifying junior and senior professionals worldwide.
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. This includes a digital customer journey from first contacts via web search engines, online product selection and dimensioning – simulation – tools, and a complete digital process ending at a factory’s machine or assembly line – the smart factory.
Products that are produced according to Industry 4.0 standards generate a digital representation, a so-called digital twin or shadow. This digital replica allows users to always access relevant product data, ensuring highest quality and stability in production. It also makes it easier for suppliers to add service like predictive maintenance, lifecycle optimisation, and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) improvement.
Industry 4.0 is the combination of Internet of Things (IoT) and digitalisation of products and services. The essence is that a networked world leads to a more effective and efficient future.
KLL: A lot of people talk about Industry 4.0 as the enabler for more flexibility in manufacturing towards lot size 1, but what about mass production?
EK: You are right, several industries use these new technologies and opportunities to achieve a higher degree of customisation in small lot-sizes – which, by the way, some industries like automotive have done for 30 to 40 years already. But Industry 4.0 is also an important enabler for more efficient mass production. I see a lot of firms that improve their manufacturing sites by optimising energy utilisation, focusing on equipment effectiveness, and making use of big data analytics to better predict actual or upcoming consumer needs.
KLL: What or who are the main drivers for Industry 4.0 inside your company?
EK: Festo started the Fourth Industrial Revolution with agile team structures to learn and adopt quickly, inspired and guided by our CTO. Initially, starting in 2010, our headquarters in Germany had been the focus of innovation with activities around product innovation, R&D, production, IT infrastructure and employee qualification with Festo Didactic.
Our current initiatives include a lot of organisational topics such as establishing clear roles and responsibilities where needed, such as in sales, HR, IT, logistics or purchasing, and […]
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