Step-by-step to Industrie 4.0

Maturity Index helps manufacturer create a roadmap for the future.


Photo by Jezael Melgoza on UnsplashAlthough they know about the advantages of self-organizing production, European companies lag behind in comparison with companies internationally. The reason for this in Germany is the tendency to reorganize the complete production right from the start instead of aiming for a goal in small steps and with individual pilot projects. In addition, there is uncertainty about the best software and to which standards the companies should adhere.

In order to provide guidance, the Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften (acatech) developed the Industrie 4.0 Maturity Index. Leading German universities and industry partners, among them TÜV SÜD, participated. As a multidimensional maturity model, the index not only assesses the status quo of digital transformation, it also helps to create individual roadmaps and to prioritize measures on the road to Production 4.0. The Maturity Index is especially suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises that quickly want to become viable for the future.

Digital transformation across all divisions

The Maturity Index is based on an extended understanding of Industrie 4.0 matters relating to technology. In order to benefit from new technologies, companies need to adjust their organizational structures as well as their culture. The goal is an agile company that is able to respond to changes in its surroundings by means of fast, information-based decisions. The Maturity Index helps companies to achieve this. For this purpose, the Maturity Index takes into consideration four structural areas:

  1. Resources: workforce and their competencies, machinery and equipment, tools, products

  2. Information systems: socio-technical systems in which information is provided and processed by both people and information and communication technology

  3. Organizational structure: rules and structures guiding the relationships within the company as well as externally

  4. Culture: value system within the company, e.g., employees’ willingness to review and adapt their behavior in response to changes.

The procedure is structured in three phases:

  • Phase 1 Review of current situation: Based on a questionnaire, a site tour, and expert workshops, the company’s maturity stage is assessed in the five functional areas: development, production, logistics, services, marketing, and sales.

  • Phase 2 Target definition: Based on an as-is analysis, company-specific strategic development targets are defined. A gap analysis shows the differences between the target and current situation and highlights in which fields the company needs to take action in order to meet their target.

  • Phase 3 Roadmap: Subsequently, specific measures are derived. Using an indicator system and a cost-benefit matrix, experts evaluate which measures are particularly suited to increase the company’s maturity stage. Those are then included in the roadmap.

Pilot project shows potential

The successful implementation of a roadmap is shown in the example of a supplier for energy and signal technology. With more than 4,000 employees at several manufacturing facilities, the company manufactures industrial connectors, device connection technology, and network components used for automation. The product range comprises radio-frequency identification (RFID) solutions. The company’s high affinity to information technologies is already apparent.

The internal Industrie 4.0 project group regularly implements new use cases. The realization of the Industrie 4.0 Maturity Index was easy: the production situation was evaluated in only four days. As expected, a high maturity stage was determined.

The supplier set up a pilot project where different die cutters spread over all company sites were equipped with structure-borne sound in order to be able to measure vibrations. Conditions were monitored precisely and the systems maintained as required. The measured data provide information on when a cutter is worn out and the components are cut outside the tolerance range.

This process was locally-monitored until the pilot project began. The linking and analysis of the data in real time allowed the comparison of the targeted optimizations across production lines. This meant the best maintenance measures generally were rolled out and further monitored.

The roadmap comprised more than 30 measures which identified where the monitored systems could be improved. Delivery reliability and production flexibility also were further improved. In the past, establishment of a project group and the identification of such projects often took several months. With the Maturity Index, it was possible to select and evaluate projects much faster.

Projects and use cases were implemented significantly earlier, and their benefits were assessed faster and more precisely. Plant leadership received an information base they could use to decide whether the implementation within the complete production made sense or not.

Industrie 4.0 only with IT- Security 4.0

The capability to take fast and precise decisions is a prerequisite to keep their industrial connectors, device connection technology, and network components, as well as RFID solutions, competitive in the future. But there is still a risk factor that applies to all companies that take the plunge towards Industrie 4.0: they rely on data provided by the sensor and component manufacturers.

There should always be two redundant communication paths for data-dependent production because when data is communicated without protection, it can be manipulated. IT security thus must become an integral part of all Industrie 4.0 developments—for example, the security standard IEC 62443 for industrial automation and control systems.

As one of the first providers, TÜV SÜD introduced the certification. Experts analyze control and guide systems with regard to potential weaknesses and develop effective protective measures that ensure system integrity. Because Industrie 4.0 can only work with IT Security 4.0.

Dr. Bertolt Gärtner is president and CEO of TÜV SÜD ATISAE and an Industrie 4.0 implementation expert based in Spain.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Welding ergonomics, 2017 Salary Survey, and surge protection
2017 Top Plant winner, Best practices, Plant Engineering at 70, Top 10 stories of 2017
Pipe fabrication and IIoT; 2017 Product of the Year finalists
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Setting internal automation standards
Knowing how and when to use parallel generators
PID controllers, Solar-powered SCADA, Using 80 GHz radar sensors

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me