Today, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel and Federal Minister of Education and Research Dr Johanna Wanka joined with members of the governing body of Plattform Industrie 4.0 at the Hannover Fair to present the key results and milestones achieved in the platforms first year of work, at an event entitled Industrie 4.0 - digital transformation made in Germany. The launch of two new initiatives called Labs Network Industrie 4.0 and Standardization Council Industrie 4.0, which were founded by representatives of associations and companies associated with the platform will help speed up the process of standardisation and putting projects into practice.
Federal Minister Sigmar Gabriel said: "Plattform Industrie 4.0, which was founded last year, has developed into one of the worlds largest networks for the digitisation of industry. The platform is a highly sought-after partner for cooperation in this area. This is a huge success that we need to continue to build on. There is no country that can benefit more from the digitisation of industry than Germany. In order to harness the opportunities that are opening up, we need Plattform Industrie 4.0 and we need businesses, trade unions, the scientific community, associations and governments to work together on an ongoing and structured basis. The platform has developed examples of Industrie 4.0 applications and guidelines for companies - particularly SMEs - and has done so very quickly. In addition to this, there are the centres of excellence 4.0, which are being funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. This means that SMEs have a wide range of possibilities for obtaining high-quality information and adice."
Federal Minister of Education and Research Johanna Wanka said: "Industrie 4.0 will only be successful if companies know how to use the opportunities offered by digitisation. We know that the German Mittelstand is developing great ideas and prototypes. However, companies still dont know whether these developments will work in the context of Industrie 4.0. This is why we are launching a programme that will allow SMEs to test their innovations in test beds." In addition to this programme which will help SMEs test Industrie 4.0 solutions in practice, Federal Minister Wanka announced the establishment of a central contact and coordination office at the University of Stuttgart. This office is to help companies gain easy access to testing centres and offer targeted support. "We want to set up a one-stop shop for the German Mittelstand," Federal Minister Wanka said. Companies can claim up to €100,000 in funding for projects with a duration of three to twelve months.
Plattform Industrie 4.0 was set up at the Hannover Fair in 2015. It is Germanys central network for driving forward the digital transformation towards Industrie 4.0. The platform brings together policymakers, companies, academia, associations and trade unions. Its goal is to develop and coordinate information and networking services which make Industrie 4.0 solutions known to companies throughout the country. The platform is one of the largest networks of this kind - both at national and international level. It supports German companies, especially SMEs, as they implement Industrie 4.0. Plattform Industrie 4.0 consists of more than 250 stakeholders that come form 159 different organisations. The platform focuses on four different fields:
"In order to ensure that systems can communicate with each other without errors, we need standards that are globally binding. Plattform Industrie 4.0 has been key in developing our reference architecture model - RAMI 4.0 - in Germany, which is an important step forward," Professor Dr Siegfried Russwurm, CTO and member of the board of Siemens AG and member of the governing body of Plattform Industrie 4.0, said at the event at the Hannover Fair. "RAMI provides a framework that for the first time accounts for both horizontal and vertical IT integration as well as product and production life cycles and has integrated all of these elements into a new DIN standard. This is an important contribution to international standardisation made in Germany." RAMI 4.0 combines the main elements of technology in one single model and provides unified rules for companies from different industries.
"We owe it to Plattform Industrie 4.0 that we have now moved past a debate that only focuses on the technological aspects of digitisation and towards a debate that also includes issues regarding the world of work and employment. Our goal is to harness the potential of digitisation and make sure that we put human beings at the centre of this development. This means that we also have to work on a new strategy for education and training that will meet the challenges of the future. Companies and employees will only see the benefits of Industrie 4.0 if we transform our education system. This is key to ensuring that our employment policy will be successful in future. Giving all relevant stakeholders a say in this transformation process is of crucial importance," said Jörg Hofmann, First Chairman of the German Metalworkers Union (IG Metall) and member of the governing body of Plattform Industrie 4.0.
Plattform Industrie 4.0 is a dynamic network that drives forward new ideas and also helps its members launch new initiatives outside of the platform. Reinhard Clemens, member of the board of Deutsche Telekom AG and member of the governing body of Plattform Industrie 4.0 stressed the fact that the focus of Plattform Industrie 4.0 is on putting ideas into practice. "The platform is making a key contribution to developing new initiatives. One example of this is Labs Network Industrie 4.0, which was created by representatives of companies and associations that are also members of Plattform Industrie 4.0. The aim of this new initiative is to make it easier for companies across Germany to get started with implementing Industrie 4.0 solutions." For example, it serves as a contact point for SMEs that want to test new technologies. In addition to this, there is also the Standardization Council Industrie 4.0, which was launched by members of Plattform Industrie 4.0 at the start of this years Hannover Fair. The Standardization Council will make a substantial contribution to speed up standardisation and involve the German Mittelstand in this process.