Industry 4.0

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Industry 4.0 is the name of a future project for the comprehensive digitization of industrial production in order to better equip it for the future. The term goes back to the research union of the German federal government and a project of the same name in the high-tech strategy of the federal government; it also describes a research platform . Industrial production is to be dovetailed with modern information and communication technology. The technical basis for this are intelligent and digitally networked systems. With their help, self-organized production is to be possible as far as possible: people, machines, systems, logistics and products communicate and cooperate directly with one another in Industry 4.0. Networking should make it possible to optimize not just one production step, but an entire value chain. The network should also include all phases of the product's life cycle - from the idea of ​​a product through development, production, use and maintenance to recycling.


The designation Industry 4.0 is intended to express the goal of initiating a fourth industrial revolution :

The term “4.0” refers to the version numbering that is customary for software products . In the case of profound changes to software, one speaks of a new version , whereby the first digit of the version number is increased by one and at the same time the second digit is reset to zero.

The choice of terms is also criticized. The terms first , second and third industrial revolution were historically formed in retrospect. The designation 4.0 is intended to create a reference to the previous revolutions and it is intended to express that the change has the same meaning. The author Wolfgang Halang criticizes the self-claimed claim of the fourth industrial revolution as "safely measured and dubious" and refers to Rainer Drath: "What is remarkable is the fact that an industrial revolution is proclaimed for the first time before it has taken place". Since the technological basis is microelectronics and is therefore unchanged compared to the third industrial revolution, industrial researcher Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen speaks of a "second phase of digitization".

On the other hand, the choice of terms is concise and emphasizes the great importance of digital change. It is also increasingly being adopted in other languages. The term is even adopted in other fields, such as B. Medicine 4.0 .

Organizational design principles

Industry 4.0 is an organizational design concept that consists of four basic organizational design principles. These principles support companies in the identification and implementation of Industry 4.0 scenarios.

  • Networking: Machines, devices, sensors and people can network with one another and communicate via the Internet of Things or the Internet of People.
  • Information transparency: sensor data expand information systems of digital factory models in order to create a virtual image of the real world.
  • Technical assistance: Assistance systems support people with the help of aggregated, visualized and understandable information. In this way, well-founded decisions can be made and problems that arise can be resolved more quickly. In addition, people are physically supported in strenuous, unpleasant or dangerous work.
  • Decentralized decisions: Cyber-physical systems are able to make independent decisions and complete tasks as autonomously as possible. Only in exceptional cases, for example in the event of disruptions or conflicting goals, do they transfer the tasks to a higher authority. The optimal degree of autonomy depends on various factors.

History and actors

The term was coined by Henning Kagermann , Wolf-Dieter Lukas and Wolfgang Wahlster and first introduced to the public in 2011 at the Hanover Fair. In October 2012 the Federal Government received recommendations for implementation. On April 14, 2013, the final report entitled Implementation Recommendations for the Industry 4.0 Future Project of the Industry 4.0 Working Group was presented at the Hanover Fair . The working group was chaired by Siegfried Dais ( Robert Bosch GmbH ) and Henning Kagermann ( acatech ).

Seamless communication from the sensor to the internet is a prerequisite for Industry 4.0

The responsible promoter group of the research union remained active even after the report was submitted. a. in the Industry 4.0 working group of the Industrie 4.0 platform of the same name , an amalgamation of the industry associations Bitkom , VDMA and ZVEI . The Industry 4.0 platform has since been expanded and is now under the direction of the Federal Ministries for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and Education and Research (BMBF). The aim of the platform is to further develop the content associated with the term Industry 4.0 in dialogue with trade unions, business associations, companies, science and politics.


Characteristic in the area of ​​industrial production are the strong adaptation (up to batch size 1) of the products under the conditions of highly flexible (large-scale) production (see also mass customization ). The automation technology required for Industry 4.0 should become more intelligent through the introduction of processes of self-optimization, self-configuration, self-diagnosis and cognition and better support or assist people in their increasingly complex work . Scientific studies confirm the high potential benefits of Industry 4.0 for shortening production times , increasing automation , producing customized products and integrating unused data from production.

With a comparatively high proportion of industrial value added, Germany is dependent on the success of the initiative and would like to be both leading users, i.e. H. be a leading user of the technologies as well as a leading supplier as a leading factory supplier. Companies like Robert Bosch GmbH have anchored this in their corporate strategy.

Ongoing projects Industry 4.0, for example within the framework of the Excellence Initiative of the federal and state-funded Integrative Exzellenzcluster production technology for high-wage countries , the BMBF - Edge Cluster " Intelligent Technical Systems OstWestfalenLippe " ( "it's OWL" ), the research campus arena in 2036 and the collaborative projects of various notices of the BMBF and the Autonomics program of the BMWi. The Industry 4.0 map shows an overview of national project activities and examples.

Another characteristic feature of Industry 4.0 is the networking of spatially distributed production capacities and the associated planning and control systems. The production resources function autonomously, knowledge-based, sensor-supported and can control and configure themselves depending on the situation and exchange information with one another. The production networks control themselves in real time and are able to adapt to changes in the boundary conditions.


The aim of the Industrie 4.0 platform is to merge IT with production technologies in order to enable innovative products and services. This poses numerous challenges. Technical standards and norms have to be developed so that communication between man and machine or machine and machine, such as in cognitive systems , is possible. Data is of great importance; many authors refer to it as the “new raw material”. The two issues of data security and data ownership are given extremely high priority. There are numerous legal questions that have not yet been clarified. Furthermore, a broad understanding of the subject of Industry 4.0 must be created in the specialist world, and it must find general acceptance at the social level. In this context, there are still open questions about training and further education. In this context, learning factories are being developed and set up worldwide in which Industry 4.0 training courses are carried out in a practical manner.

Another aspect is the change in the requirements placed on employees, since real-time control requires a new work organization. Challenges relating to operational security and security against attacks will also become increasingly important. Companies must ensure that production facilities and products do not pose a risk to employees or the environment.

Developments in Germany

A study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research between 2015 and 2018 examined how 1,256 companies have developed further with regard to digitization. The companies were assessed in 3 different technology fields : digital management system, wireless human-machine interaction and cyber-physical system (CPS) -related processes. The study comes to the conclusion that transformations mainly took place in companies that were already interested in "Industry 4.0" in 2015. But the number of “non-users” also fell by 7 percentage points from 23% to 15% during the period.

The size of the company also made a difference. Large companies already held the top positions in 2015, but the gap has narrowed over the period measured. Medium-sized companies in particular were able to narrow the gap, while small businesses still see some catching up to do in terms of digitization.

Developments abroad

The term "Industry 4.0" is a German word creation. Subsequently it has spread as a term in other language areas. Initiatives in the sense of the "Industry 4.0" research platform of the same name arose largely at the same time in many countries, each with their own names, although the contents are not always completely identical. In the USA the initiative came into being under the name “Industrial Internet Consortium”, or IIC for short. The Industrial Internet Consortium was founded in March 2014 by AT&T , Cisco , General Electric , IBM and Intel . It is a non-profit organization that had grown to over 200 members by the beginning of 2016, including non-US companies among the participants. New Internet technologies are to be promoted jointly, whereby the approach is not limited to the industrial sector. The IIC is also geared towards other business areas (e.g. services) and all process stages along the entire value chain. There are other initiatives in Japan under the name “Industrial Value Chain Initiative”, or IVI for short. The initiators are large Japanese companies. In the five-year plan of 2015, China also took initiatives similar to the German Industry 4.0 platform. They are intended to significantly support the desired change from a low-wage country to a global industrial power (see also: Made in China 2025 ). South Korea invests in so-called smart factories. In several European countries there are other activities that are comparable to the Industry 4.0 platform, e.g. B. in France under the name: "Industrie du futur".

Reception of the Industry 4.0 platform

In the classic of the business administration, Günter Wöhe : "Introduction to General Business Administration", the topic "Industry 4.0" is addressed for the first time in the 26th edition (2016). There are also occasional critical voices: The team of authors of the Industry 4.0 compendium criticizes a one-sided focus on the smart factory , while changes in the value-added structures are largely ignored. According to Reinhard Clemens from T-Systems , the goals of the platform are wrong, as there is a lack of concrete results and coordination. The topic of Industry 4.0 is critically examined by the authors Andreas Syska and Philippe Lièvre in their monograph Illusion 4.0 - Germany's naive dream of the smart factory : “In addition, Industry 4.0 is based on the mistake of thinking that a non-linear and social system like a factory with Algorithms can be controlled. That has never worked and it will be the same this time. "

Film documentaries


  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research: “Industry 4.0” vision for the future. Bonn 2013.
  • Michael Chui, Markus Löffler, Roger Roberts: The Internet of Things. in: The McKinsey Quarterly. 47th year, issue 2; Amsterdam, Atlanta 2010, pp. 1-9.
  • German Commission for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies of DIN and VDE: The German Standardization Roadmap Industry 4.0, DKE Standardization Roadmap series, Version 1.0, Berlin 2013.
  • Michael Porter, James Heppelmann: How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Competition, Harvard Business Review, Volume 92, Issue 11, 2014, pp. 65–88.
  • Ulrich Sendler (Hrsg.): Industry 4.0 - The mastery of industrial complexity with SysLM , Springer Vieweg, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-642-36916-2 .
  • E. Abele, G. Reinhart: Future of Production. Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-446-42595-8 .
  • T. Bauernhansl, M. Ten Hompel, B. Vogel-Heuser (Eds.): Industry 4.0 in production, automation and logistics. Wiesbaden 2014, ISBN 978-3-658-04681-1 .
  • Andreas Syska, Philippe Lièvre: Illusion 4.0 - Germany's naive dream of the smart factory, Herrieden 2016, ISBN 978-3-940775-58-0 .


Web links

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Website of the Federal Government's High-Tech Strategy
  2. Industry 4.0 future project , BMBF website
  3. Perspectives Paper Research Union . (PDF) (No longer available online.) Research Union Industry - Science, 2013, archived from the original on January 23, 2016 ; Retrieved April 9, 2016 .
  4. a b c What is Industry 4.0? (No longer available online.) In: Archived from the original on April 9, 2016 ; Retrieved April 9, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. History of work: Work 4.0 on, accessed on April 12, 2019.
  6. ^ Stefan Bornemann: Revolution on command? - Industry 4.0, a criticism . In: future of work . March 7, 2016. Archived from the original on May 3, 2016. Retrieved on May 3, 2016.
  7. Wolfgang A. Halang, Herwig Unger: Industry 4.0 and real time. 2014, Springer Vieweg, ISBN 978-3-662-45108-3 , p. V; cited: Rainer Drath: Industry 4.0 - An introduction. in open automation. Issue 3/14
  8. Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen: Introduction: Digitization of industrial work. In: Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen / Peter Ittermann / Jonathan Niehaus (eds.): Digitization of industrial work. The vision of Industry 4.0 and its social challenges. Baden-Baden 2015, p. 11.
  9. M. Hermann, T. Pentek, B. Otto: Design Principles for Industry 4.0 Scenarios . In: 2016 49th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) . January 1, 2016, p. 3928–3937 , doi : 10.1109 / HICSS.2016.488 ( [accessed August 22, 2016]).
  10. Norbert Gronau, Marcus Grum, Benedict Bender: Determining the optimal level of autonomy in cyber-physical production systems . In: 2016 IEEE 14th International Conference on Industrial Informatics (INDIN) . IEEE, Poitiers, France 2016, ISBN 978-1-5090-2870-2 , pp. 1293–1299 , doi : 10.1109 / INDIN.2016.7819367 ( [accessed January 17, 2020]).
  11. H. Kagermann, W.-D. Lukas, W. Wahlster: Industry 4.0: With the Internet of Things on the way to the 4th industrial revolution. ( Memento of the original from March 4, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: VDI-Nachrichten. April 2011. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  12. a b The history of the Plattform Industrie 4.0 ( memento from December 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), Plattform Industrie 4.0, accessed on December 18, 2015.
  13. Self-configuring automation for intelligent technical systems , video, accessed December 27, 2012.
  14. Jasperneite, Jürgen; Niggemann, Oliver: Intelligent assistance systems for mastering the system complexity in automation. In: ATP edition - Automatisierungstechnische Praxis, 9/2012, Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich, September 2012 ( Memento of the original from October 18, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 367 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  15. ^ Rainer Schmidt, Michael Möhring, Ralf-Christian Härting, Christopher Reichstein, Pascal Neumaier: Industry 4.0 - Potentials for Creating Smart Products: Empirical Research Results . In: Business Information Systems (=  Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing ). No. 208 . Springer International Publishing, 2015, ISBN 978-3-319-19026-6 , pp. 16–27 , doi : 10.1007 / 978-3-319-19027-3_2 ( [accessed September 12, 2016]).
  16. Dr. Thorsten Widmer: Industry 4.0@Bosch. (PDF) (No longer available online.) October 9, 2015, archived from the original on April 9, 2016 ; Retrieved April 9, 2016 .
  17. BMBF Internet editorship: Forschungscampus - public-private partnership for innovations - BMBF. Retrieved June 7, 2017 .
  18. Home - ARENA2036. Retrieved June 7, 2017 .
  19. BMBF Internet editorial office: Industry 4.0 - BMBF. Retrieved June 7, 2017 .
  20. Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, Public Relations Department: Autonomics: Home. Retrieved June 7, 2017 .
  21. map. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on June 10, 2017 ; accessed on June 7, 2017 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  22. Industry 4.0 and digitization 4.0: tips for implementation. Retrieved January 21, 2018 .
  23. Merkel: Data are the raw materials of the 21st century . In: . March 12, 2016. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  24. Abele E., Chryssolouris G., Sihn W., Metternich J., Elmaraghy ​​H., Seliger G., Sivard G., Elmaraghy ​​W., Hummel V., Tisch M., Seifermann S .: Learning Factories for future- oriented research and education in manufacturing . Ed .: CIRP Annals - Manufacturing Technology, ed. S. 806-826 .
  25. Industry 4.0 and digitization 4.0: tips for implementation. Retrieved January 21, 2018 .
  26. Christian Lerch and Angela Jäger: Industry 4.0 quo vadis? In: Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (Hrsg.): Modernization of Production . No. 76 . Karlsruhe June 2020, p. 12 ( [PDF]).
  27. Dr. Christian Lerch: Digitization and Industry 4.0: How have German companies developed? Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research , June 29, 2020, accessed on July 1, 2020 .
  28. ^ Industrial Internet Consortium. Retrieved June 7, 2017 .
  29. ^ Julie Pike: The Industrial Internet Consortium. In: Industry 4.0 in an international context, Christian Manzlei, Linus Schleupner, Ronald Heinz (Eds.), VDE Verlag, Berlin 2016, p. 138
  30. Industrial Value Chain Initiative: Home - Connected! Manufacturing | Industrial Valuechain Initiative. Retrieved June 7, 2017 .
  31. New five-year plan targets 6.5 percent growth . In: Handelsblatt . October 29, 2015. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  32. "Made in China 2025" - VDMA. In: Retrieved June 26, 2016 .
  33. Jost Wübbeke: Keeping pace with technology . In: Der Tagesspiegel . March 16, 2015. Accessed June 9, 2016.
  34. ^ Germany Trade and Invest GmbH: GTAI - Digitization of the Economy in Korea (Rep.). (No longer available online.) In: Archived from the original on June 26, 2016 ; Retrieved June 26, 2016 .
  35. Karin Zühlke: Platform Industry 4.0 is about to end: "Germany lost the first half" , on: on February 10, 2015, accessed on February 10, 2015.
  36. Andreas Syska, Philippe Lièvre: Illusion 4.0 - Germany's naive dream of the smart factory . CETPM Publishing, Herrieden 2016, ISBN 978-3-940775-58-0 .