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Industry 4.0

Digitising European Industry and Industry 4.0 – A brief overview

bjoern.sautter Monday July 17, 2017

Industry is one of the pillars of the European economy with substantial impact on jobs and growth and on future investments and social welfare. New-generation digital technologies such as Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) or Internet of Things (IoT) open new horizons for industry to become more efficient, to improve processes and to develop innovative products and services. Recent studies estimate that digitisation of products and services can add more than €110 billion of annual revenue in Europe in the next five years.

Against this backdrop, the European Commission launched on 19 April 2016 the first industry-related initiative of the Digital Single Market package. Building on and complementing the various national initiatives for digitising industry, such as Industrie 4.0, Smart Industry and l'industrie du futur, the Commission announced to use its policy instruments, financial support, coordination and legislative powers to trigger further public and private investments in all industrial sectors and create the framework conditions for the digital industrial revolution.

The European Platform of national initiatives, launched in March 2017, is at the core of the coordination effort, contributing to achieve the Digitising European Industry goals (promoting regionally embedded and pan-European networked Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) as well as industry-driven interoperable digital platforms and large scale pilots are some other key actions to implement the Digitising European Industry actions). The German Plattform Industrie 4.0 is one example of national initiatives, which is very active in implementing the “Vision Industrie 4.0” that is closely related to an Integrated Research Agenda Cyber-Physical Systems. The Plattform Industrie 4.0 provides e.g. a map of German Industrie 4.0 use cases, and the Labs Network Industrie 4.0 offers an extensive and tangible range of information as well as access to appropriate test labs.

In my next blog posts, I will give some insights from the perspective of a leading automation technology provider on how Industry 4.0 relates to Cyber-Physical Systems and how the “Vision Industry 4.0” can be implemented in the real industrial world. This youtube video already provides a nice insight into some Industry 4.0 related activities in German businesses.