The background to Plattform Industrie 4.0

Heads of the Plattform Industrie 4.0 at the Hannover Messe 2017
© Plattform Industrie 4.0/Reitz

The background to Plattform Industrie 4

How can Germany become the leading factory equipment supplier for Industrie 4.0? How can Germany further improve its competitiveness as a production location through Industrie 4.0? What role can Germany play in setting standards and how can Industrie 4.0 benefit people in the world of work? Plattform Industrie 4.0 aims to find answers to these questions through dialogue. Together, companies and their employees, trade unions, associations, science and politics want to make a big impact. Ambitious but achievable recommendations are to be drawn up for all stakeholders, including the initiation of appropriate standards. In addition, a coherent research agenda based on the needs of operators is to be developed. Finally, compelling practical examples should be identified that demonstrate the various effects of networked production and value networks and the benefits of new business and working models.

How the platform sees itself

The platform aims to develop joint recommendations for all stakeholders, that serve as the basis for a consistent and reliable framework. The platform will initiate alliances and networks at the precompetitive stage which support the evolution of the entrepreneurial skills and energy present in Germany. The platform aims to identify all relevant trends and developments in the manufacturing sector and to combine them to produce a common overall understanding of Industrie 4.0. This means conversely that the platform does not operationally realise activities in the market, such as demonstration centres, research projects or company-led projects, however it does proactively initiate and support them. Equally, in the area of standardisation, the platform is not where the standards will be set in terms of committee work. However, the platform should indeed identify where action is required on standards and norms and should actively express recommendations for national and international committee work.

Structure of the Plattform Industrie 4.0
© Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

The structure of the platform

The platform is steered and led by the federal minister for economic affairs and energy, Brigitte Zypries, the federal minister of education and research, Prof. Johanna Wanka, and high-ranking representatives from industry, science and the trade unions. Experts from business, science, associations and the trade unions develop operational solutions together with representatives from various federal ministries in thematic working groups.

The groups look at future-related issues in the areas of standardisation and norms, security of networked systems, legal frameworks, research, and working arrangements. The steering committee, which includes business representatives, develops a strategy for the technical implementation of the working groups’ findings. The strategy group, which includes representatives from politics, industry associations, science, trade unions, federal government departments and the federal states, is tasked with providing policy leadership and multiplication effects in the sociopolitical debate on the effects of Industrie 4.0.

The composition of the platform’s management team and an overview of the companies and organisations represented on the platform can be found here (PDF, 125KB).

The history of the platform Industrie 4.0

Industrie 4.0 is one of the future projects adopted in the „Action Plan High-tech strategy 2020“. The Federal Government thereby adressed the rapid social and technological development in this area and put structures for cooperation between all actors of innovation in Germany. The working group Industrie 4.0 set up by the Research Union Economy - Science of the BMBF shed a light on the requirements for a successful start into the fourth industrial age. In October 2012, the working group handed over its report entitled "Implementation of recommendations for the future project Industrie 4.0".

The associations BITKOM, VDMA and ZVEI - they account for more than 6,000 member companies – acted on the suggestion of a continuation and further development of the project Industrie 4.0 and in April 2013 concluded a cooperation agreement to run – in the form of an ideal thematic cooperation beyond association boundaries – the Plattform Industrie 4.0. The launch of the platform was officially announced at the Hanover Fair 2013.

In April 2015, the Plattform Industrie 4.0 was expanded - more actors from companies, associations, unions, science and politics were added.


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