Industrial Internet vs. Industry 4.0
*Industrial Internet is the term used in the English-speaking regions. Industry 4.0 is the term used in German-speaking regions. We use these terms interchangeably.
It’s quite apparent that, particularly in Europe, not everyone is giving the most thought on putting Industry 4.0 right into practice. While the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and companies in the United States started getting to grips with the practical implementation of the Industrial Internet* and its specific benefits a while ago, in Germany we are still much concerned with developing standards and defining concepts. Richard Soley, Executive Director of the IIC, advocates the “Just do it” approach – or the Nike effect, as he calls it.
At the Bosch Group, we are running over 70 projects to test the application and readiness of Industry 4.0. Our advantageous dual position as both user (in the form of 220+ manufacturing plants around the world) and supplier (of a broad product portfolio that spans machines, components, and systems expertise from sensors to software) allows us to test the feasibility of the Industrial Internet.
Industry 4.0 innovation cycle
“Industry 4.0 is a reality” – and not only at Bosch. It’s a topic that is very important to us. We illustrated the Industry 4.0 innovation cycle (see figure) because it helps suppliers – machine and component manufacturers – develop their existing business in a continuous process that moves them closer to providing new services in the Industrial Internet. Also included is the frequently asked question: what’s the best place to start, for us as a company, department, or unit?
How to apply the Industry 4.0 innovation cycle
The Industry 4.0 innovation cycle comprises three phases that a company usually passes through in turn. Of course, provided it makes sense, it is also possible to carry out the phases in parallel instead.
1) Product features phase
Equip your machines and components with Industry 4.0 product features. These include sensors, actuators, an information processing system, and machine-level software applications. Another feature is a network connection that allows users to generate data from machines in the field – that is to say, machines in operation – to process this data on a product level and take any necessary action. Secure remote access is another prerequisite, along with clearly defined access rights.
So what’s possible now?
“Process quality management with Industry 4.0”: a centralized view of quality data drawn from production processes is now available.
2) Data analytics phase
Many different types of data from machines or components actively in use are collected, analyzed in order to gain new insights, and fed back into the machines. This forms the basis for developing new services. In this phase, it is crucial to collect only the data needed to meet the defined objectives in each case – such as reducing maintenance costs by slashing the number of call-outs, for example, or lowering the cost of deviations in the manufacturing process. It’s a good idea to avoid the big data problem!
So what’s possible now?
Quality data from production processes is analyzed to identify deviations. This is done using a differentiated method that does not categorize results as either good or bad. As soon as relevant deviations are identified, the service provider is notified and informed in the way most conducive to promptly solving the problem.
3) New services phase
Depending on the insights gained, you will be able to design new services for your customers. However, don’t expect to be able to immediately quantify how beneficial this will be.
So what’s possible now?
One possibility is to offer optimized condition monitoring with a corresponding service agreement. This involves monitoring components and machines via remote access and automatically triggering servicing and maintenance work as required. The recorded data (that is, machine condition and process data) is analyzed by the service provider in order to identify patterns that may indicate that service or maintenance is required, a part is about to wear out, or even that a machine is at risk of imminent failure. In this way, the service is continuously optimized and offered as a win-win situation that benefits both supplier and users.
Industry 4.0 is good for you – so make the most of new opportunities
Whether you as a machine and component manufacturer want to add new services to your portfolio as a way to generate additional and continuous income; or whether, as the person in charge of the tightening processes in your production, one of your required targets is achieving defect-free output – networked software solutions à la Industry 4.0 can help you meet your objectives today.