At the event, to which Engel has invited a select circle of innovation-driven inject 4.0 users, it once again becomes clear that digitalisation is not an end unto itself. The goal of Industry 4.0 is to utilise the full potential of machines, systems and technologies in order to strengthen competitiveness, operate with more flexibility and securely manage increasing complexity. Transparency and the assistance that builds on it are the keys to more efficiency. "We have already made great strides in this direction", says Stefan Engleder. "However, it has always been clear to us that in terms of Industry 4.0, we were setting out on a long voyage. The goal is known, the way there must be continuously developed, stage by stage, in collaboration with our customers and partners. At this time, we are facing the next big step."
Horizontal networking as a goalSo far, the path to the smart factory has been focused on the function-related optimisation of individual value creation stages such as production and sales, and on indirect value creation areas such as maintenance management and quality assurance. To this end, machine and process data are collected and analysed, and the shop floor is vertically linked to the operations management level on the basis of digital twins of the machines and systems. As a rule, the classic IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) platforms for this are proprietary solutions. In practice, however, vertical platform structures are unable to meet the requirements of processing data from various provider systems and correlating these with the data from other companies.
The goal of digital transformation is therefore the transition to horizontal platforms that bundle the know-how and offerings of various companies. An open, horizontal networking allows for the cross-functional optimisation of processes along the entire value chain. "The digital transformation is just beginning. We see a great opportunity here. We are inviting our customers and partners to continue actively developing the future of smart production in collaboration with us, and to tailor the new solutions specifically to the requirements of the plastics industry”, says Engleder. "This way, we will all derive the optimum benefit from these newly arising opportunities."