Germany is one of the world's leading industrial nations and is competing to provide the best Industry 4.0 solutions. Industrial production and production-related services in Germany account for more than half the country's total economic output. Germany is leading the way in many digital innovations for production technology, but is exposed to increasing competition. In order to gain an edge in the race for the products and markets of tomorrow, it is imperative for Germany to adopt an integrated approach and engage in interdisciplinary cooperation. Standards are essential for the successful global marketing and practical implementation of Industry 4.0 solutions. A constellation of stakeholders from the business, science and political fields has been established in Germany and is described below.
Looking at the technical debate surrounding Industry 4.0, it becomes clear that human beings will still be working in the intelligent production facilities of the future. The role of people in the socio-technical work system thus deserves special consideration. People will continue to play a central role in production – as participants in the manufacturing process, as machine operators, maintenance engineers, production planners or programmers. In order to design an efficient and flexible yet sustainably successful work system it is important to incorporate people with all their abilities, skills, capabilities and capacity limits into the design.
The fourth industrial revolution and its influencing factors – such as new types of contracts, the networking and exchange of data and a changed working environment – also need to be analysed from a legal perspective. Laws provide the framework within which standards operate, but the influence of standards also feeds back into law-making. This interaction must be taken into account above all in shaping the standards.
Standardization Council Industry 4.0
German industry announced the establishment of the Industry 4.0 Standardization Council at the 2016 Hanover Fair. The goal of this initiative (based on Bitkom, DIN, DKE/VDE, VDMA and ZVEI) is to initiate digital production standards and to coordinate them nationally and internationally.
SCI 4.0 liaises between industry and standardization, i.e. mediates between the members of the Industrie 4.0 platform and the various standards developing organizations (SDOs). SCI 4.0 plays an important bundling role here. The aim is to develop ambitious yet feasible recommendations for action for all participants, including the national and international initiation and coordination of suitable standards. A further aim is to accelerate the relevant standardization processes and strengthen the international competitiveness of Germany as an industrial base.