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Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution

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article image Klaus Bauer

TRUMPF Express Magazine speaks to Klaus Bauer, Head of System Development Fundamental Technology at TRUMPF Ditzingen on the subject of ‘Industry 4.0’.

What does the term ‘Industry 4.0 suggest to us, and what are companies hoping to achieve with it? 

According to Klaus Bauer, the term ‘Industry 4.0’ describes the intelligent interlinkage of all the production systems. Also referred to as the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 will have a similar impact on production as did the first three industrial revolutions of mechanisation, electrification and computerisation. It is essentially a question of making production more efficient, cost-favourable, flexible and profitable, with the goal being to produce a one-off item as easily as one in a mass production run.

What does an individualised manufacturing process look like? 

The manufacture of the item to be produced can be influenced at any point in time. The Internet also makes it possible for the ultimate customer to impose individual requirements almost in real time, the prerequisite being that the production line is extremely flexible and can turn out a wide variety of products. While the machines are largely self-configuring, the information is stored not only centrally, but also at the product being manufactured. 

What changes will Industry 4.0 bring for people who work on the production floor?

Klaus Bauer believes that Industry 4.0 will consciously integrate workers into the process. People are required in manufacturing since machinery cannot offer a substitute for their intuition and intelligence. However, it is also important to insulate the people on the line from the complexity of these new systems. As the systems in the background become ever more complex, the systems used for control and interaction will need to be improved. The human being will direct and organise, without having to master all the complexity involved.

How is TRUMPF involved in the research of Industry 4.0?

As a member of the German Federal Government’s working circles on Industry 4.0 and also being on the steering and executive committee for ‘Platform Industry 4.0’ organised by the VDMA, ZVEI and BITKOM, TRUMPF is capable of actively influencing research work and the implementation of the results. TRUMPF is also a partner in the CyProS (cyberphysical production systems) project being conducted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

What will Industry 4.0 look like in practice? 

According to Klaus Bauer, Industry 4.0 does not mean tearing down and rebuilding anew - existing production systems will be upgraded a step at a time with the steps being more evolutionary in nature. One can only observe in retrospect how many different things have changed.

TRUMPF equipment is available in Australia from Headland Machinery .

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