A major point on the agenda was the tour of SmartFactoryKL, a demonstration and research platform for innovative factory technologies that showcases how digitally networked manufacturing can be implemented in practice.

Federal Minister Sigmar Gabriel: “The digital transformation will only succeed in Germany if we take SMEs, the foundation of the German economy, with us as we enter Industrie 4.0. And only if we work together to make Germany’s successful “Mittelstand model” fit for the future. I am therefore delighted that we are launching today the first Industrie 4.0 SME Day, thereby giving SMEs the opportunity to inform themselves about Industrie 4.0 first hand, to network within the region, and to address questions and concerns to the politicians.”

The minister-president of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer: “There is no better place to talk about and experience the industry of the future than SmartFactoryKL here in Kaiserslautern. It is an ideal place to start the Plattform Industrie 4.0 regional conferences. I am therefore delighted that SmartFactoryKL will be one of five SME 4.0 centres of excellence to be supported by the Ministry for Economic Affairs. This will enable the factory to develop the magnetism to accompany and support industrial SMEs on the road to Industrie 4.0.”

The minister for economic affairs in Rhineland-Palatinate, Eveline Lemke, underlined in her welcoming address that Industrie 4.0 is and remains a central focus of the state’s innovation and industrial policy: “The state government is keen to ensure that companies in the state benefit from the development potential of Industrie 4.0 at the earliest opportunity.”

The head and founder of the SmartFactoryKL technology initiative, Prof. Detlef Zühlke, added: “The encouragement and support that SmartFactoryKL receives not only from industry but also from the state and federal governments bring us forward in the mission to realise Industrie 4.0. This enables us, as a unique platform with the Rhineland-Palatinate SME 4.0 Centre of Excellence, to drive forward the implementation of Industrie 4.0 and in particular to support small and medium-sized businesses.”

The first Industrie 4.0 SME Day in Kaiserslautern is a joint event of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Rhineland-Palatinate State Chancellery. It is the first in a series of events aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises in particular and that will be continued in other federal states. The series aims to inform the SME sector about the digital transformation in Germany, to raise awareness among SMEs about Industrie 4.0 and to increase participation. Some 100 representatives of local industrial SMEs as well as actors from politics and business will discuss Industrie 4.0 implementation strategies at the SME Day.

Plattform Industrie 4.0 is also presenting its work at the event and highlighting opportunities for exchanges at the regional and federal levels. Moreover, experts are on site to talk about experiences gained and real-world examples and to raise awareness about Industrie 4.0 among regional companies.