Press Release

Plattform Industrie 4.0 driving force for standardisation, IT security and support for small and medium-sized enterprises at national and international level

Industrie 4.0 has developed from a trend to an economically relevant production concept. In the areas of standardisation, IT security and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, Plattform Industrie 4.0 has made good progress. Economic Affairs Minister Zypries, State Secretary for Economic Affairs Machnig, Secretary of State for Research Dr. Schütte, SAP Executive Board Member Leukert and other leading heads of Plattform Industrie 4.0 are presenting the platform’s results and recommendations at the Hannover Messe trade fair. New offers will be presented, particularly to support the implementation of Industrie 4.0 in small and medium-sized enterprises. The platform’s management is also looking ahead, with solutions focusing on the key issues of IT security and standardisation, which are being developed with international partners.

At the Hanover Fair 2017, the leading minds of the Plattform Industrie 4.0 present the results and objectives of the platform - in the middle: Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Brigitte Zypries.
At the Hanover Fair 2017, the leading minds of the Plattform Industrie 4.0 present the results and objectives of the platform - in the middle: Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Brigitte Zypries.
© Plattform Industrie 4.0/Reitz

Hannover, 25. April 2017. The surveys among industry associations and the growing number of use cases on the online map of the platform show that Industrie 4.0 has arrived in many German companies and especially in manufacturing SMEs. Pilot projects have become market-relevant projects. At the same time, there are still some challenges when it comes to the practical implementation: secure communication, component interoperability and employee qualification can represent hurdles, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Creating stable frameworks

In order for machines made by different manufacturers to communicate smoothly with each other – similarly to desktop computers – it takes new standards. Plattform Industrie 4.0 has also developed the reference architecture model RAMI 4.0, which has recently been recognized as a pre-standard by international standardisation organisations (IEC/ISO). Now it is necessary to transfer the model into practice and disseminate it internationally. With the definition of the Industrie 4.0 Administration Shell as well as the openAAS project of ZVEI and other partners, the platform is showing what the bridge between concepts and practical implementation can look like at the Hannover Messe. In future, the platform will continue to drive operational standardisation and use the results from testbeds.

Promoting global cooperation

Many issues can only be solved in cooperation with international partners. Plattform Industrie 4.0 is coordinating this exchange. As the host initiative of the EU Stakeholder Forum and the G20 conference "Digitising Manufacturing in the G20", it has created important spaces for mutual learning and moved the exchange up to a new level.

Tackling the key issue of IT security

IT security is a key issue in the cooperation with partner initiatives from Japan, China, France, Italy and the USA. The exchange – partly in joint working groups – is bearing fruit: Together with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), the platform is presenting the exhibit "Interoperable Trust-worthy Global Security Solution" at the fair. The exhibit is based on the "Industrial Internet Security Framework" published by the IIC, and Plattform Industrie 4.0’s concepts of secure collaboration in cross-company environments. The exhibit presents integrated and secure IT solution for diverse communication environments. Together with the Japanese Robot Revolution Initiative, the platform already published a programmatic paper on security issues at CeBIT.

In addition to the cross-company security of facilities and data, the platform also deals with other topics at international level: harmonization of the reference architecture models IIRA and RAMI 4.0 for standardisation, best practices for staff qualification, joint testbeds and SME support.

Industrie 4.0 Compass – Finding ways in practice

There is a strong need for support in SMEs. There is also a wide range of support measures available. With the Industrie 4.0 Compass [only in German], the platform has developed an instrument that quickly and intuitively shows the way to suitable, non-commercial support offerings. The online library and online map are available as a guide and knowledge database for Industrie 4.0 solutions. This is an offer that companies like to take advantage of: Plattform Industrie 4.0 is continuously working to expand both tools – with support from a transfer network made up of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the German Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (Bitkom), Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (ZVEI), German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (IHK), SME 4.0 Competence Centres of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, regional Initiatives and business clusters. 

Statements Plattform Industrie 4.0

Brigitte Zypries, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy: "Globalisation, Digitisation and Industrie 4.0 are the three major trends that will shape our economy and society. Germany is the leading Industrie 4.0 country in the world. With Plattform Industrie 4.0, we have one of the world's largest networks in Germany, an international model. Solutions and practical examples from the platform as well as our SME 4.0 Competence Centres support small and medium-sized enterprises in the implementation of Industrie 4.0.”

Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, Federal Minister of Education and Research: "Industrie 4.0 is not a laboratory phenomenon in Germany, Industrie 4.0 is now being implemented in the across the board. Our greatest efforts are dedicated to small and medium-sized enterprises. Industrie 4.0 is as diverse as the range of SMEs in Germany. We help SMEs to earn from one another. The BMBF supports projects in order to make experiences, success models and tips usable in practice on the "Factory Floor". Industrie 4.0 will only be successful with the appropriate safety concepts. To this end, we have set up the Competence Centres and set up a national reference project. Industrie 4.0 is not just technology, it also means additional qualifications for employees. The BMBF supports this through the modernisation of vocational education and further training – professional training for Industrie 4.0."

Bernd Leukert, spokesman for the Steering Group of the Plattform Industrie 4.0 and member of the executive board of SAP SE: “We see many successful approaches that Germany emphasizes in the implementation of Industrie 4.0. However, smaller companies are often looking for guidance. Unfortunately, there are still only a few lighthouse companies guiding us on how it could successfully work. We still have a lot of testing to do, and we have to validate concepts. We do this in a practical way, for example, via the Labs Network Industrie 4.0, the pilot implementations of the RAMI 4.0 management console or our security project with the IIC. In the platform, we are thinking about an even stronger focus on new business models. The goal is to be able to lead German SMEs more strongly, to successfully advance Industrie 4.0 and digitisation.”

Jörg Hofmann, Chair of the executive board, Metalworkers Union IG Metall and Management Member of Plattform Industrie 4.0: "If we want the employees to keep pace with the transformation process and actively shape it, then we have to give them the opportunity to achieve qualifications. Particularly in SMEs, it is important to develop suitable qualification strategies so that they and their employees are not left behind in the digital transformation. Companies have to become places of learning. To this end, SMEs need tangible and practical support from the Confederation for Work and the SME 4.0 Competence Centres. They can encourage SMEs to develop a much needed new learning culture.”

Dieter Kempf, President of the BDI: "As digitalisation increases, the risk of companies becoming the target of attacks by hackers also increases. Two out of three companies have been victims of data theft, economic espionage or sabotage in recent years. Many companies are reluctant to invest more in Industrie 4.0. They urgently need reliable concepts, architectures and standards in IT security. Plattform Industrie 4.0 is working on this and is making an important contribution to putting Industrie 4.0 into practice."

Dr. Bernhard Rohleder, CEO of Bitkom: „The Plattform Industrie 4.0 ensures a collaboration between universities, research institutions, and industrial companies. It develops valuable cross-sector and cross-company concepts for technology, standardisation and business models. The platform drives the practical execution of Industrie 4.0 forward, by preparing the necessary roadmap in alignment and coordination with the industry. This is how we want to secure and expand the future of the industrial location Germany.

Dr. Eric Schweitzer, President of the DIHK: “Digitalisation is an increasingly decisive success factor in industry, to meet customer requirements and get an edge over competitors. From the perspective of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, the Plattform Industrie 4.0 is an important network for the digital transformation of production in Germany. With its partners, it brings expertise into the field (i.e. to companies). This is why we heartily support it, especially knowledge transfer to small- and medium-sized enterprises. We aim to identify innovation and implementation barriers and give concrete aid to overcome them. Examples that demonstrate opportunities and challenges can help with that, hence our current country-wide initiative WE DO DIGITAL: an initiative that collects and publicises best practice in small- and medium-sized companies.”

Prof. Dr. Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft: "The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft provides application-oriented solutions for the challenges of digital transformation. To this end, we can call on many years of experience in areas such as factory automation, logistics, sensor technology, information and communication technology. In this way, we help companies make optimum use of the immense economic potential of new networking opportunities. At the same time, our focus is on the human being – Plattform Industrie 4.0 plays an important role in leading the way into a joint future."

Hartmut Rauen, Deputy Chair of the executive board, VDMA: "Industrie 4.0 technologies have found their way into practice with a broad range of applications. Now it is about establishing business models. Industrie 4.0 means producing future and the guiding motto for that is plug and work. The VDMA OPC-UA guideline is a handbook for SMEs. We also want to show our customers around the world our competencies in the field of IT security. The Hannover Messe trade fair is the leading show room, with global prominence.”

Dr. Klaus Mittelbach, Chair Executive Board, ZVEI: "With regard to industrial policy and technology for Industrie 4.0, Germany is very well positioned. The Plattform Industrie 4.0 cooperates with the Standardization Council Industry 4.0, the Labs Network Industry 4.0 and the industrial associations Bitkom, VDMA and ZVEI. Together they form a framework that makes it easier for businesses to prepare the digital transformation for their own company. The systematic approach is exemplary.“

About the Plattform Industrie 4.0
Plattform Industrie 4.0 is the central network in Germany to advance digital transformation towards Industrie 4.0. In close cooperation with politics, industry, science, associations and trade unions, over 300 stakeholders from 159 organisations are actively involved in the platform. The platform develops and coordinates information and networking services to raise awareness on Industrie 4.0 solutions among companies and to deploy them on-site. As one of the largest international and national networks, it supports German companies—particularly medium-sized companies—in implementing Industrie 4.0. It provides companies with decisive impulses through examples of company practices from across Germany, as well as concrete recommendations for action and test environments. The platform’s numerous international co-operations underscore its leading role in international discussions on Industrie 4.0. For more information http://www.plattform-i40.de/I40/Navigation/EN/Home.

Press contact

Dr. Jonas Gobert
Plattform Industrie 4.0
Tel.: +49 30 53607729
E-Mail: jonas.gobert@ifok.de