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Q&A with an Industry 4.0 Solution Architect

In a recent webinar hosted by element14, our Solution Architect for Industry 4.0 at Bosch.IO, Verena Majuntke, discussed the relevance of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the manufacturing space. During the webinar, we were asked some very interesting questions that we wanted to share with you. So see below:

Verena Majuntke

In her job, Verena Majuntke is the first technical point of contact with customers in Industry & Logistics, understanding their requirements, developing solutions and contributing to the development of the factory of the future.

ALEXANDRA SCIOCCHETTI How long will it take until we make the transition from only being able to sense what the market wants to actively ramping up and increasing production without human intervention? What needs to happen for that to occur?

VERENA MAJUNTKE Our experience so far is that plants and production facilities already collect a broad variety of data, but are unable to effectively use all of it. The challenge is to handle the massive amounts of data and being able to transform this data into meaningful information. So far, we are mostly talking about how software can help manage the data generated in the production process and how the newly generated information can help optimize processes. We also can see that we are still far away from integrating real-time market demands into production processes. For that to happen, we first need to be able to quickly adapt production processes and connect most, if not all, processes along the entire value chain.

It is hard to give an estimate in years but it is safe to say that this transition won’t happen overnight.

What kind of safeguards will be implemented in the factory of the future to prevent production that is based upon unintended action or information?

One approach is to integrate employees closely into processes. IT can help analyze data and can generate meaningful information, as well as connect production processes with business processes, but employees help deciding whether information is plausible or not.

"Instead of trying to automate processes from start to end, we should integrate human interfaces so that employees can take an active role in the process."
Verena Majuntke, Senior Solution Architect for Industry 4.0 at Bosch.IO

What environmental impact will Industry 4.0 have?

Industry 4.0 will make energy consumption much more efficient due to organizations being able to optimize their machine usage, production and logistics processes. Moreover, Industry 4.0 technology makes it possible for equipment manufacturers to monitor their machinery in the field and allows them to receive and analyze useful information about the machinery’s energy consumption. Getting those direct insights will help equipment manufacturers improve the energy consumption of their machinery.

How do you see industry protocols and standards developing so that the sensors and devices can talk to each other as well as with the computing platforms?

Standardization is a big topic in the context of Industry 4.0. Especially suppliers who would like to participate in this area ask us which interfaces they should realize and offer in order to enable machine integration in Industry 4.0 scenarios. And even though the development and establishment of protocols and standards is an ongoing process, it’s not as advanced as it should be in order to avoid the risk of constantly having to adapt interfaces. It’s clear however, that the development of Industry 4.0 scenarios are growing quickly. Waiting for standardization may leave you behind.

What groups are driving the factory of the future and Industry 4.0?

Here in Germany, the Plattform Industrie 4.0 – a cooperation comprised of the three industrial associations BITKOM, VDMA and ZVEI – plays a big role in driving Industry 4.0 developments. Their goal is to actively take part in shaping the next industrial revolution. Together with its members – leading companies like ABB, Bosch, IBM, Siemens and many more – the platform works on developing technologies, standards, business and organization models as well as promoting the practical implementation of Industry 4.0.

In the US, we see the work of the Industrial Internet Consortium picking up pace. Similar to the Platform Industrie 4.0, the Industrial Internet Consortium is a non-profit partnership of technology innovators, industrial companies, academia and government with the goal of “accelerating the development and availability of intelligent industrial automation for the public good.”

Webinar ‘Internet of Things in Production’

If you are interested in gaining more insights into the topic, watch this recording of our webinar with element14 and my colleague Verena.

More from Verena Majuntke

Here are the 7 criteria to mind when designing software for manufacturing experts. And don´t miss to read more on the analysis of production data in our white paper!

Process quality management beats the rule of ten: Learn more about the importance of process quality management in the area of industry 4.0.