The fourth industrial revolution is coming



Leading smart factory expert professor Detlef Zühlke will use his seminar at CWIEME Berlin 2015 to explain the ‘Industry 4.0’ concept – with reference to his ground-breaking demo platform at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence in Kaiserslautern – and its opportunities for manufacturers in the coil winding, electric motor and transformer industries.

Following revolutions in steam power, electricity and digital technology, a new industrial revolution is on the horizon. Where design, production and distribution were once isolated silos, the factory of tomorrow is a highly integrated and automated system, in which smart machines communicate with each other to coordinate and carry out each stage of the manufacturing process with degrees of speed, flexibility and efficiency never seen before.

This factory can identify the location and status of people, equipment and goods in real time, adjusting scheduling, inventory and calibration on the fly. The results are fast, customizable workflows that eliminate defects and downtime, waste and waiting.

“The key to all this is the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), in which physical objects or equipment, embedded with electronics, software and sensors, are able to store data and communicate with each other via a network,” says Professor Detlef Zühlke, director of Innovative Factory Systems at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and founder of SmartFactoryKL, the research-based institute widely seen as the birthplace of this so-called industrial revolution, Industry 4.0. “Through a complex interplay of devices, software and automation processes, the factory is now able to make smart and timely decisions about matters in the real world and take action to meet constantly changing demands with minimal human input.”

Professor Zühlke founded SmartFactoryKL in 2005. Since then, together with a consortium of 16 partners, the SmartFactoryKL has constructed a 12m-long prototype production line to demonstrate how the Industry 4.0 vision could work. The production system is controlled entirely by wireless technology to produce business card holders and can be quickly reconfigured using plug and play components that respond to internet-based commands issued remotely – to change the colour or design of the holder, for instance.

Immense opportunities

“As the real manufacturing world begins to converge with the digital world, there is immense potential for CWIEME Berlin’s core audience,” says Professor Zühlke. “First, there will be a huge increase in demand for suppliers in the automation and electronic components and systems sectors, as automated factory equipment packed with electronics that capture, store and transmit data becomes standard in factories around the world. Secondly, Industry 4.0 offers all manufacturers – whether they make transformers, electric motors or electrical components – the opportunity to drive top line growth by increasing productivity.”

Professor Zühlke will be presenting the Industry 4.0 concept as well as its opportunities for the global coil winding, insulation and electrical manufacturing industries in a seminar entitled ‘A smart dynamic: How the SmartFactory broke the mould’ at CWIEME Central on Wednesday 6th May, 11.00-11:40.

Chloe Theobald, content manager for the CWIEME exhibition series, says: “It is a huge coup for us to have Professor Zühlke joining our seminar programme for CWIEME Berlin 2015. He is the industry authority on smart factory technology and has so many invaluable insights to share with our guests at the show.”

CWIEME Central seminars are held in English and are free for all CWIEME Berlin visitors to attend.