"More than ever, cross-industry and cross-border solutions are needed to achieve a full breakthrough for Industry 4.0," DDr. Elisabeth Stampfl-Blaha, Managing Director of Austrian Standards, stated when she opened the 2nd expert congress on Industry 4.0. - Future Standards Now! Together with Dipl.-Ing. Roland Sommer, Managing Director of the Industry 4.0 Austria platform, she welcomed around 120 managers and decision-makers from enterprises, policy-making and standardization at the Austrian Standards Meeting Center on 14 March.
The conference started with the presentation of the Digital Roadmap of the Austrian government by Director General Dr. Matthias Tschirf on behalf of Dr. Margarete Schramböck, Federal Minister of Digital and Economic Affairs. Then, experts from Austria, Germany and Switzerland discussed strategies for successfully putting in place Industry 4.0 both at the national level and across countries. Complementing those strategy presentations, Dr. Karl Grün of Austrian Standards and Dipl.-Ing. Richard Valenta of the Austrian Electrotechnical Association (OVE) outlined the current state of standardization in the field of Industry 4.0.
Examples of successful applications
In the course of the congress, high-level industry representatives presented diverse practical applications ranging from networked manufacturing processes optimized by sophisticated sensor technology and artificial intelligence to comprehensive digitization strategies and disruptive business models of well-established enterprises and on to reports on cost savings and productivity increases resulting from predictive maintenance. In the afternoon, two best-practice sessions were dedicated to innovative business models based on digital process optimization and the theme of smart and safe production.
The presenters included Dipl.-Ing. Michael Kiel (EVVA), Markus Weber (Industry 2025), Roland Henn (Müller Martini), Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Roman Froschauer (University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Campus Wels), Siegfried Klug (Rockwell Automation), Lukas Condit (B&R Industrial Automation), Carsten Fleischer (Evertracker), Dipl.-Ing. Georg Grasser (incremental3d), Dipl.-Ing. Eduard Artner (Wopfinger Baustoffindustrie), Christian Sageder (ÖWD Security Systems), HR Dr. Peter Schweppe and MMag. Kristin Grandl-Eder (KAGES), Georg Beham (Grant Thornton Unitreu Advisory), Vera Müllner (Andritz) as well as Wolfgang Burkhard and DI (FH) Michael Bollak (Abax Informationstechnik).
In panel discussions, the debates focused on the potentials and requirements of networked, machines and factories communicating with each other. After all, the smart factory is not a blueprint for the future but has already become a living reality. It was not least for that reason that there was a strong consensus among the panellists and the audience about the need for binding transnational and cross-industry standards so that Industry 4.0 can succeed world-wide as well as in individual enterprises.
Finally, science journalist and director Mag. Markus Mooslechner and business IT expert and software developer Fabian Schneider provided impressive insights into how people can re-invent themselves in their contribution "SuperSapiens - The Life of a MicroCHIPped Human".
In their conclusions, Dr. Karl Grün and Dipl.-Ing. Roland Sommer stressed that while Industry 4.0 had already given rise to numerous successful applications, there were still many aspects requiring further work. Apart from pragmatic issues, there were also questions of an ethical nature, such as "What do people need from Industry 4.0?", "Are the humans of today still like those of yesterday?"
And, of course, they addressed the issue of future standards, specifically "Which regulative instruments and arrangements are needed to turn Industry 4.0 into a globally successful model?" Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things, big data, cloud services as well as data protection and the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation are topics addressed by numerous further events and publications of Austrian Standards.
To get an impression of the congress, go to the online photo album.