Digitalization - The key to increased productivity, efficiency and flexibility
First, computers became networked. Now, more and more pieces of everyday life are following suit: smartphones, household appliances, vehicles. The consulting firm Gartner estimates that about 25 billion objects will be interconnected on the “Internet of Things” by 2020. Today, there are 3.8 billion such objects.
The Internet enables firms to collaborate more closely with partners, address customer requirements systematically, establish new business processes and, above all, manufacture products more efficiently. How? Through virtual 3D development, digital planning and monitoring, and nearly error-free production.
This transformation into a new industrial era is called Industrie 4.0 in Germany – other regions have started comparable initiatives: At the end it simply refers to the complete digital representation of a company’s entire value chain. Embedded software is enabling equipment, machines and materials to communicate via the Internet, optimizing each other and thus keeping processes smooth right up to the sale of the finished goods.
Key elements of this vision are already available. For a long time now, engineers have been using software to simulate robots, production plants and communications systems and optimize their interaction.
Siemens’ declared aim is to support its customers in this process. With its Digital Factory Division, this engineering company is helping drive the transformation towards the digital enterprise at high speed.
A prime example is the Siemens’ award-winning electronics factory (EWA) in Amberg which demonstrates the key aspects of Industrie 4.0. Here, the company is already manufacturing products in the way that could one day become standard. Every year, the factory produces 12 million Simatic products, which are components for industrial control technology. Calculated on the basis of 230 work days per year, a product leaves the plant every second. This is made possible by a high degree of automation. With the exception of the setup, repair and maintenance work, virtually nothing is done manually at this plant.
Tremendous opportunities emerge when the virtual and real worlds unite. And these opportunities are paving the way for tremendous growth. By merging the worlds of virtual and real manufacturing, Siemens is boosting the efficiency and competitiveness of its customers.
Tremendous opportunities emerge when the virtual and real worlds unite. And these opportunities are paving the way for tremendous growth.
*This special publication "Digitalization“ was released in the magazine DER SPIEGEL (Issue 16/2015)