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