Smart Factory – Heart of Industry 4.0

Apr 26, 2016

The smart factory concept opens many new opportunities for industry, but also requires a rethink among companies.
The digitization associated with Industry 4.0 will fundamentally transform industries such as mechanical engineering, chemicals, automotive, electrical engineering, agriculture and information and communication technology (ICT) – and generate an estimated 80 billion euros in additional value in the next ten years. The heart of Industry 4.0 is the smart factory: intelligent and connected. The study "Smart Factory – Wie die Digitalisierung Fabriken verändert" (Smart Factory – How Digitization Is Changing Factories), by the consulting firm Lünendonk in collaboration with T-Systems and the trade magazine "Produktion", will be presented at Hannover Messe 2016 and provide companies with a roadmap for this new industrial age.

"A huge paradigm shift"

Industry 4.0 isn't just about more efficient workflows in the supply chain, production and logistics. "We are moving away from industrial mass production toward make-to-order production," says Luz G. Mauch, SVP Automotive & Manufacturing Industry at T-Systems. "That's a huge paradigm shift. In future, the entire industrial value chain will revolve around specific customer needs." In this process, digitization touches every area at a company, because "a smart factory can't truly be smart until the process chains are optimized end to end," says Mauch.

Ten-point plan for management

The white paper describes the prerequisites for building a smart factory, taking time to address the problems and fears of companies that make them hesitant to do so. "Although they acknowledge the potential of the technical possibilities, traditional companies still have difficulties with both the vision and the practical implementation", says Mario Zillmann, Head of Professional Services at Lünendonk. A ten-point action plan for management identifies the crucial factors in the transformation to the smart factory: dovetailing the ecosystem of man, technology and organization.

T-Systems: partner for digital transformation

Key components of a smart factory include smart machines, sensors and control systems. Smart factories generate huge amounts of data, which have to be transmitted and processed. And as the study indicates, this places high demands on the communication networks: they must have high availability, be fail-safe and support real-time communication. Likewise, cloud computing is essential to processing the data. Both of these factors – fast mobile communication networks and integrated solutions from secure data centers plus the suitable cloud ecosystem – are available from T-Systems. Our vast expertise with processes and IT is the result of numerous customer projects, making us an experienced partner for the digital transformation. We accompany customers with an end-to-end concept – from strategy to implementation – on their way to Industry 4.0.