Industrie 4.0 – From Buzzword to main strategy
What people are familiar with from their private lives and their consumer behavior will sooner or later catch on in manufacturing as well. Customer needs will influence production and even control it. Today, people are accustomed to buying products online and having them delivered overnight. And at the same time they want the goods they order to be as individualized as possible. The color of the hip brandname sneakers must be selectable or match the tracksuit. Individualism is “in” – made possible by the Internet. A lifestyle that places high demands on production.
Pant is now working on the conceptual implementation of Industrie 4.0 at automation specialist KUKA in Augsburg. “At KUKA, we are attempting to demystify this abstract concept on a daily basis.” Among other things, the team is examining how to better organize complex and opaque processes through networking. The team is also working on the issue of analyzing the production environment and adapting processes accordingly by using digitization. “Such an approach is feasible today, because now we have the appropriate technologies and sensors to attune dynamic parameters, such as the temperature or power consumption, to the production process centrally in the cloud,” states Pant. “Industrie 4.0 thus helps us build intelligent solutions, so that we can flexibly adapt to different circumstances.”
KUKA Connect is a cloud-based product that enables customers to make their production more efficient, to boost output and above all to be more innovative. KUKA is implementing open global standards and makes use of large-scale data analytics and a fog computing platform in order to offer customers maximum transparency with regard to their robots.
“We anticipate that our customers will want more than just information about the KUKA processes. They will only be able to optimize their processes once they have an integrated understanding, from the robot to the gripper and through to the environment in which the robot is deployed.” This is why Schlögel wants to open the connyun platform to third parties as well. “After all, the motto is ecosystem rather than egosystem,” he explains, giving a smile. “Those who hoard all processes and data for themselves will not last very long in a competitive international marketplace.” Sharing is a key factor in the digital transformation. This
does not mean, though, that just anyone will have access to the data. “The customer will decide who and why someone is allowed to view the data.” But the KUKA engineers are in agreement that a rethink will be required. It is crucial to be prepared for the digital transformation. And this transformation starts with the KUKA employees themselves. They have long become accustomed to interdisciplinary approaches. They work in global teams and have no problem coordinating between different time zones. For example, a development team in Austin provides the IoT know-how. The employees are supported in their interdisciplinary exchange of information by the KUKA Digital Business Cloud. In this social business network by the name of Chatter, employees share knowledge, discuss current issues and organize into project groups. Since June, Chatter has been an integral part of the workplace at KUKA worldwide – a digital collaboration across borders.
Everything about Industry 4.0 at KUKA can be found on our homepage https://www.kuka.com/en-de/technologies/industrie-4-0