Many companies in Europe are still skeptical about "Industrie 4.0". However, if they don't take advantage of that, other companies from other regions worldwide will do that. The research project "SMART FACE" at Fraunhofer IML encourages to more speed. Nicoleta Bot, project leader at the international automotive supplier Continental AG, one of the industrial partners of "SMART FACE", explains opportunities and challenges.
The automotive industry is beyond doubt among the driving forces of the fourth industrial revolution. Having said that, we are breaking new ground with respect to "Industrie 4.0" – in this as in all other industries. That is exactly the thrilling fact for the Automotive Group of Continental AG when participating in the research project "SMART FACE" – brief for smart factory for electronic vehicles with lean production planning. We use the possibility to prepare in time for what will be reality in two, five or ten years, and to continue consolidating our position as worldwide technology leader in the automotive market. Our perception of the cooperation between science and business is creative, fruitful and target-oriented.
All too often, only the super intelligent factory is in the focus of "Industrie 4.0". However, "Industrie 4.0" does not only change the face of the production at the manufacturer. "Industrie 4.0" also changes the cooperation between partners along the entire supply chain. Therefore, it is particularly important for us as supplier to get involved in research projects dealing with »Industrie 4.0«. The challenge of "Industrie 4.0" we face is to open up our processes and to link different systems with each other, for example to be able to process real time information in the entire supply chain. This provides a great opportunity: transparency. As supplier we gain a better overview of the planning processes of our customers and thus more valid data of orders than today.
"SMART FACE" calls for new thinking about both appropriate production planning and control. Taking the small and medium batch production of electronic vehicles as example, innovative approaches towards the use of decentral and autonomous control methods are developed and conditions for the conceptioning of a radically innovative production planning are created. It is no longer a question of technology that this new thinking in production will be introduced in practice but only a question of time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicoleta Bot is responsible for the topic "Industrie 4.0" in Supply Chain Management Automotive (SCMA) in the team Systems & Implementation at Continental Teves AG & Co. oHG based in Frankfurt.
MORE ABOUT THE TOPIC
- "SMART FACE" is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWI) within the programme "Autonomik für Industrie 4.0". Syndicated research partners are the Fraunhofer IML and the Technical University Dortmund, Continental Automotive, Volkswagen, SICK AG, Lanfer Automation, F/L/S Fuzzy Logik Systeme and Logata Digital Solutions. Electric vehicles form the basis for this this development and that shall be implemented in a next step in other industry-specific production processes in the area of small series production. Presumably in 2016, the first test runs will be processed at Fraunhofer IML. Then, a swarm of autonomous vehicles will start to work and provide various assembly stations with components in terms of "Industrie 4.0".
- How production, products and services operate in the multidimensional internet of the future is presented on an extra large poster with numerous informative graphics. You can download the poster "SMART FACE" here. Please, click here for an animation for clarification of the basic concept of the project "SMART FACE" and its implementation in the initiative Cyber Physical Systems and "Industrie 4.0".