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Germany is at the forefront of digitization

2 years lead

A flexible and cost-effective production is the goal of the fourth industrial revolution.

All parties involved exchange all relevant data via the Internet.

This is expected to increase productivity dramatically. Industry 4.0 is also a central topic in Hanover.

The small electric car e.Go Life of RWTH Aachen is possibly the first product of the fourth industrial revolution in Germany.

Industry 4.0 is the keyword for a completely new kind of data usage and utilization.

Production, planning, construction, administration, in short everything connected with the production of goods, grows via Internet.

At the Hanover Fair, Industrie 4.0 is one of the core themes.

Sensationally low development costs

In the case of the e.Go Life it looked like this!

Aachen’s production researcher Prof. Günther Schuh involved a small group of developers, who developed parts of the vehicle in several groups.

In order for them to fit together, they all had access to a data pool that collected everything necessary for the development and construction of the vehicle.

While everything is successively implemented in the conventional process, the RWTH Aachen teams were able to work in parallel.

This saved a lot of money and time. The development costs amounted to a modest 30 million euros, the development lasted only two years.

If an ordinary car manufacturer had developed the car, Prof. Schuh estimated the costs to be around 500 million euros.


This already shows the trend: Industry 4.0 will drastically lower production costs.

Bitkom, the industry association of the information and communication technology industry, is expecting the new way of developing and producing productivity increase in six economically central sectors by 2025, including machinery and plant engineering, automotive industry, electrical engineering and chemical industry.

 Nearly 80 billion euros per year.

Complaining about missing standards

There are still obstacles to implementation.

Many plants are still unable to communicate with each other and with suppliers, for example, because uniform standards are missing. 63% of the 314 participants complain about the Bitkom survey.

On the other hand, Germany has “an excellent starting situation” in this field of application, says Bitkom President Michael Kleinemeier.

Here he agrees with Research Minister Johanna Wanka. In their opinion, Germany has “two years ahead” in this area.

This advantage is quickly lost, however, if he does not reach the middle class, she warns.

Industry 4.0 can also become a danger when strangers interfere, for example to sabotage production processes or steal technical recipes.

IT security must be at the forefront.

Prototypes become superfluous

Flexibility is the most important thing: machines of the future are supposed to produce different products, depending on requirements, thanks to intelligent software.

The number of items is as follows: from one to many. This also makes the production of prototypes superfluous.

The launch of the market is thus considerably accelerated.

Products can be individualized, that is, tailored to the needs of each individual customer, not by expensive manual work but under the conditions of cost effective  large scale production.

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