Industry 4.0－A 58-Second Competition
The New Direction of Manufacturing
Fifty-eight seconds. That’s all it takes BMW to produce a customized car, Siemens to make a customized controller or Optima to make a customized bottle of perfume. Industry 4.0 is redefining how things are made and sold in the 21st century.
The New Direction of ManufacturingBy Monique Hou
From CommonWealth Magazine (vol. 601 )
Since CommonWealth Magazine first wrote about Germany’s Industry 4.0 plan and the United States’ Advanced Manufacturing Initiative 18 months ago, the term “Industry 4.0” has become the rage in Taiwan and China amid a global battle for supremacy in new-age manufacturing.
Taiwan has made Industry 4.0 a national industrial transformation policy. More than 50 forums have been organized on the topic and at least 20 Taiwanese delegations have visited Germany to learn more about it. China has listed Industry 4.0 as a key to its industrial policy of going “from big to strong.”
After painstaking efforts, Taiwan has “spawned” two Industry 4.0 factories, one of which is in the most basic of old economy sectors – the textile sector. But most Taiwanese manufacturers still see Industry 4.0 as nothing more than shorthand for automation and unmanned factories.
In fact, the vision for Industry 4.0 in Germany was as a “fourth industrial revolution, a new level of organization and control for the entire value-added chain throughout the product life cycle.”
Involving more than just automation, Industry 4.0 connects end consumers with manufacturers and the supply chain in real time, promoting error-free interaction between them that improves efficiency and flexibility and lowers costs
Industry 4.0 is not some fanciful fling but a system designed to help companies and industries solve the problems they are facing, and it is not the exclusive domain of big companies. Of the German companies taking action to put the concept into practice, 80 percent are small and medium-sized enterprises. Their approach, of starting with small steps that can provide the biggest value-added benefits, offers a compelling model for Taiwan’s many SMEs.
CommonWealth Magazine has visited several countries to see how different enterprises are applying Industry 4.0 concepts. What we found is that Industry 4.0 is no longer just theoretical, but practical, and no longer the future, but the present. The experiences of several companies are chronicled in our English-language section.
Industry 4.0: Ulrich Sendler
Industry 4.0: Henning Banthien
Industry 4.0: BenQ
Industry 4.0: Optima