inject 4.0 Forum: The next dimension
| Subj: Press-releses
At the event, to which ENGEL has invited a select circle of innovation-driven inject 4.0 users, it once again becomes clear that digitalisation is not an end unto itself. The goal of Industry 4.0 is to utilise the full potential of machines, systems and technologies in order to strengthen competitiveness, operate with more flexibility and securely manage increasing complexity. Transparency and the assistance that builds on it are the keys to more efficiency. “We have already made great strides in this direction”, says Stefan Engleder. “However, it has always been clear to us that in terms of Industry 4.0, we were setting out on a long voyage. The goal is known, the way there must be continuously developed, stage by stage, in collaboration with our customers and partners. At this time, we are facing the next big step.”
Horizontal networking as a goal
The goal of digital transformation is therefore the transition to horizontal platforms that bundle the know-how and offerings of various companies. An open, horizontal networking allows for the cross-functional optimisation of processes along the entire value chain. “The digital transformation is just beginning. We see a great opportunity here. We are inviting our customers and partners to continue actively developing the future of smart production in collaboration with us, and to tailor the new solutions specifically to the requirements of the plastics industry”, says Engleder. “This way, we will all derive the optimum benefit from these newly arising opportunities.”
Marketplace for the entire value chain
This trend is penetrating into the B2B sector, with the term marketplace also becoming established there. In future, market participants with the same, similar or complementary value streams will communicate through marketplaces, offer their products and technologies there, and include their suppliers as well as their customers in this network. The plastics processor using multiple systems from different providers will find all relevant information in a central location and can use the applications offered — so-called apps — with particular efficiency. “Horizontal networking provides the basis for new business models that supplement our current ones and offer added value to our customers”, says Engleder.
ADAMOS, for example, offers an industry-specific marketplace of this kind. It is a manufacturer-agnostic, open platform that has been developed specifically for the requirements of machine engineering and its customers, and in which ENGEL also participates.
Pilot factory launching
“The LIT Factory allows us to test the new possibilities under practical conditions, gather experience together with our partners, continue researching the challenges of horizontal networking, and develop new solutions”, states Engleder. One already known challenge is uninterrupted connectivity, for not all participants in the value chain are compatible with each other. “A common marketplace will accelerate the development of standards”, says Engleder. “In the long term, we expect that various marketplaces will become networked with each other and allow for the exchange of data between participants.”
From the production of raw materials to the recycling of plastics products that are no longer needed, the platform of the LIT Factory includes the entire value chain. In this way, horizontal networking is helping to move other urgent future topics forward. One example is the closing of value streams. The Circular Economy requires an even closer cooperation of businesses along the value chain, which can be designed especially easily and efficiently on a marketplace.