In­dus­trie 4.0 is shap­ing the fu­ture

Huge po­ten­tial for co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Ger­many and Tai­wan


The In­ter­net of Things and Ser­vices, smart fac­to­ries, cloud com­put­ing and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence are chang­ing our daily lives. The strat­egy of em­brac­ing those trends is con­tained in Ger­many´s In­dus­trie 4.0 con­cept and hopes are high that this will lead to a revo­lu­tion in pro­duc­tion.

Prior to In­dus­trie 4.0, the world ex­pe­ri­enced three other mayor in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tions that can be de­scribed as more or less pro­found and per­ma­nent trans­for­ma­tions of so­cial and eco­nomic cir­cum­stances. The first in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion took place at the end of the 18th cen­tury and was based on the in­tro­duc­tion of waterand-steam-pow­ered me­chan­i­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties. The lat­ter half of the 19th cen­tury marked the be­gin­ning of the sec­ond in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion, also called Tech­no­log­i­cal Revo­lu­tion, which is based on the di­vi­sion of la­bor through elec­tron­i­cally pow­ered mass pro­duc­tion. The so called third stage of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion refers to the use of elec­tron­ics and IT to achieve fur­ther au­to­ma­tion of man­u­fac­tur­ing. It started be­tween the late 1950s to the late 1970s. Cur­rently, the world is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the be­gin­ning of just another in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion that will pre­sum­ably af­fect all of us in the near fu­ture: In­dus­trie 4.0.

The con­cept of In­dus­trie 4.0 first emerged in 2011 at the Han­nover Messe, the world's lead­ing trade fair for in­dus­trial tech­nol­ogy in Ger­many. One year later, the Ger­man gov­ern­ment made the new con­cept a na­tional pol­icy pri­or­ity un­der the di­rec­tion of the Fed­eral Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Re­search and the Fed­eral Min­istry of Eco­nom­ics and Tech­nol­ogy. The term In­dus­trie 4.0 is used to ex­press the fourth stage of in­dus­trial evo­lu­tion, which is based on cy­ber-phys­i­cal sys­tems. It im­plies a new level of or­ga­ni­za­tion and con­trol through­out the en­tire value-added process as well as on the „life “of a prod­uct. The ba­sic idea of In­dus­trie 4.0 is based on the avail­abil­ity of all rel­e­vant data in re­al­time through con­nect­ing all in­stances in­volved in the value-added process. At the same time, the ca­pac­ity to im­me­di­ately process the in­for­ma­tion to ex­ploit the value-cre­ation po­ten­tial at any time is re­quired. In­dus­trie 4.0 takes the in­di­vid­u­al­ized de­sires of cus­tomers into ac­count and cov­ers the whole process from the ini­tial idea through­out re­search, de­vel­op­ment, man­u­fac­tur­ing and the fi­nal de­liv­ery of the prod­uct to the cus­tomer.

As a high-wage coun­try, Ger­many needs to main­tain com­pet­i­tive­ness in a glob­al­ized mar­ket. There­fore, the fu­ture of the Ger­man econ­omy greatly de­pends on the in­creas­ing flex­i­bil­ity of pro­duc­tion pro­cesses to es­tab­lish a new way of pro­duc­tion.

In or­der to pro­mote the con­cept of In­dus­trie 4.0 in Tai­wan and to en­hance bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in this field, the 15th Tai­wanese-Ger­man Joint Busi­ness Coun­cil Meet­ing in Septem­ber this year in Taipei has been held un­der the topic “In­dus­try 4.0: Ger­many and Tai­wan - Part­ners in Au­to­ma­tion and Smart Man­u­fac­tur­ing”. Dr. Roland Busch, mem­ber of Siemens AG's man­ag­ing board re­spon­si­ble for the Asia/Aus­tralia re­gion, shared core trends in In­dus­trie 4.0 with the over 150 par­tic­i­pants. “In­dus­trie 4.0 takes man­u­fac­tur­ing to the next level of pro­duc­tiv­ity, flex­i­bil­ity and com­pet­i­tive­ness. We are only at the be­gin­ning of this dig­i­tal evo­lu­tion of man­u­fac­tur­ing. Tai­wan, for ex­am­ple, launched the ini­tia­tive “Pro­duc­tiv­ity 4.0” – based on Ger­many’s “In­dus­trie 4.0”. The coun­try aims to reach 60 per­cent growth on the per capita pro­duc­tiv­ity of its man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries by 2024”, Dr. Busch said.

As the Tai­wanese econ­omy heav­ily re­lies on its ex­ports, Tai­wanese in­dus­tries are adopt­ing the strat­egy of Pro­duc­tiv­ity 4.0 with the aim of pre­vent­ing to be re­placed by other for­eign com­peti­tors. There­fore, im­ple­ment­ing Pro­duc­tiv­ity 4.0 in­volves get­ting hold of key tech­nolo­gies in or­der to be­come a global leader in in­no­va­tion. Via break­throughs in key tech­nolo­gies, Tai­wan’s in­dus­tries could achieve in­dus­trial trans­for­ma­tion and en­hance their in­ter­na­tional com­pet­i­tive­ness. Be­gin­ning this year, the Tai­wanese gov­ern­ment plans to spend about NTD 36 bil­lion over the next nine years on its “Pro­duc­tiv­ity 4.0” ini­tia­tive, in or­der to boost the is­land's to­tal in­dus­trial rev­enue and help 50,000 lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers trans­form them­selves to meet 4.0 stan­dards.

In­dus­trie 4.0 holds huge po­ten­tial. If it’s used in the right way, In­dus­trie 4.0 will be able to solve some of the chal­lenges the world is fac­ing to­day such as energy ef­fi­ciency and de­mo­graphic change. In or­der to be­come the new lead­ers in the field of dig­i­tal­ized in­dus­tries and to en­hance a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage, both Ger­many and Tai­wan should work closely to­gether on the fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of In­dus­trie 4.0. De­vel­op­ing new re­search fields and job op­por­tu­ni­ties will se­cure the fu­ture of the man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries and thus strongly sup­port both economies in a longterm per­spec­tive.

The 15th Tai­wan-Ger­many Joint Busi­ness Coun­cil was held un­ter the topic "In­dus­trie 4.0: Ger­many and Tai­wan – Part­ners in Au­to­ma­tion and Smart Man­u­fac­tur­ing” in Septem­ber 2015 in Taipei

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