Industry 4.0 platform launched and expanded in Germany

Germany's Industry 4.0 platform, which is comprised of government, business and trade union officials, has been expanded to focus on systems security, work and education training, and legal issues.

By Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy April 23, 2015

Germany has expanded its Industry 4.0 platform to include government officials 
as well as representatives from business, science, and trade unions. The initiative is based on the Industry 4.0 business association platform operated by the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI), and the Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM). The platform has now placed the topic of Industry 4.0 on a broader political footing and has itself also undergone a thematic and structural overhaul. 

German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel and Federal Minister of Education and Research Johanna Wanka joined together to launch the Industry 4.0 platform and to assume leadership of the initiative.

"The launch of the Industry 4.0 platform shows that all of the relevant actors from industry, science, trade unions, and government are pulling together in this area—which is of course of key importance for Germany as a business location. We want to make use of the platform’s new areas of focus to gain initial results as quickly as possible," Gabriel said. "These can then be tested in practice by various companies and translated into business models. Our aim is to turn Industry 4.0 into a German success story and to establish our country as a key supplier of cyber-physical production systems. As a supplier of factory equipment to companies around the world, German industry has the right starting conditions."

Wanka said of the initiative, "I believe it is good and important that the key players who will decide upon the success of Industry 4.0 all work together to secure the future of German business. As a progressive industrial country, we must make it our aim to lead the digital revolution. I am certain that the world is taking a lot of interest in our initiative: Germany is moving forward; the ‘Made in Germany’ mark of quality is achieving more and more."

According to Minister Wanka, in order to move forward with implementing Industry 4.0 in Germany, it is important to focus on helping small and medium-sized companies make use of the opportunities it offers. "In order to do this, we need to improve the reliability and security of information technology. This is why we have just stepped up research in this area."

A strategy group comprised of representatives from the German government ministries, business, business associations, trade unions, science, and the federal states will take on the task of political governance and act as multipliers. There will also be a steering committee composed of companies and the heads of working groups working in cooperation with the Economic Affairs Ministry and Research Ministry. The steering committee will make decisions on strategic development, technical coordination, and technical implementation.

The Industry 4.0 platform has divided its focus across working groups for reference architecture; standardization; research and innovation; networked systems security; legal environment; and work, education/training.

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy 

– Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, See additional industrial networking stories.