Industry 4.0 - changing the world

The interconnection of virtual and physical production has been steadily increasingly for years. This opens up intriguing prospects for Germany as a highly specialized production area, leading factory outfitter and technology leader in the field of embedded systems. Recently, these have been grouped together under the term Industry 4.0.

What this means is that German industry is facing a fourth industrial revolution, driven by the increasing use of information and communications technology in production. As a result, not only are new intelligent products and production systems possible, but also new forms of intelligent services.

Intelligent technical systems form the basis of Industry 4.0. They are often also known as cyber-physical systems (CPS) or cyber-physical production systems (CPPS). This is because they communicate wirelessly via internet networks but carry out real, physical processes. In this way, production processes are interlinked to create a smart factory, and largely organize themselves.

The finished products also include information, to allow them to be identified and located at any point in the manufacturing process and to influence it autonomously when necessary. Not only does this make production more efficient, but also opens up a new dimension in custom manufacturing. Thanks to intelligent technical systems, value chains can be reorganized and controlled – forming the basis for more innovative “made in Germany” products and services.

The following pages provide more information on the development of Industry 4.0 and the role played by the Leading-Edge Cluster.