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It is the vision of the brave new (industrial) world: in the future, intelligent field devices should communicate with each other, maintenance should be carried out preventively, and feedback to the customer should enable completely new forms of production.
Distributors, warehousing and complex supply chains are replaced by decentralized, modular production directly at the customer, while augmented reality solutions blur the lines between cyberspace and the real world.
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The vision lives - apparently: In fact, three quarters of engineers are already experiencing the change to digitization and networking in their daily work, as a recent VDI survey shows. No wonder, since the manufacturers of field devices, engineering software and automation solutions have long recognized the trend. The latest generation of system components and devices comes with on-board intelligence, options for real-time diagnosis or communication with the control system.
Data maintenance glasses and tablet PCs should also find their way into maintenance or the laboratory, if the developers want it to. Automation and IT companies in particular are rubbing their hands together: 31% of companies already offer special products for the industrial Internet of Things, from cloud storage to thought-provoking laboratory glasses - a further 31% have corresponding products in the pipeline, according to a Bitkom survey. In any case, the potential is huge: By 2020, global sales of networked devices are expected to increase to over $ 1,800 billion (from the current $ 1,100 billion).
A long way to go
But the path towards Industry 4.0 could be further than the numbers suggest: Only six out of ten companies in Germany feel well prepared for digitization, a recent survey by the consulting agency Mc Kinsey shows. "Many companies are only now beginning to deal specifically with Industry 4.0. The advantages of new technologies are too often seen as a risk rather than an opportunity to increase competitiveness,”says Mc Kinsey Director Detlef Kayser.
Content of the article:
- Page 1: That is why training is the key to the fourth industrial revolution
- Page 2: Industry 4.0 concerns everyone
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