This is a guest blog post written by Henning Banthien, Secretary General of the Plattform Industrie 4.0, Germany
Industrie 4.0 was one of the future projects adopted in the „Action Plan High-tech strategy 2020” by the German Federal Government in 2010. This encouraged the business associations BITKOM, VDMA and ZVEI to establish the Plattform Industrie 4.0 in 2013. In 2015, the Plattform Industrie 4.0 was expanded with support of the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Ministry of Education and Research. More actors from the private sector, business associations, unions, research organisations and political institutions joined. Today, a total of over 300 players from 159 organisations are active in the platform.
Hard work is carried out by five working groups, which develop specific recommendations for action to ensure a competitive advantage for all partners. These groups are active on architectures/standards, research, security, legal framework and education/training.
We discovered very soon that international cooperation is indispensable for many industry 4.0 issues. Skills for the digital age or IT security are fields that are better addressed together. Standardisation and regulatory challenges require cooperation with other countries or supra-national institutions. After all, the added value of digitised production is generated in networks - and they do not end at national borders. Of particular importance for German companies are, of course, European neighbours with whom they maintain close business relations.
Due to this conclusion the Plattform Industrie 4.0 already carries out intensive dialogues at international level: There is a close link to the EU Commission and the G20 countries in terms of European workshops, lectures, publications etc. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Plattform Industrie 4.0 support the European Commission in its efforts to build a network of national initiatives at European level and to promote activities on industry 4.0 across Europe.
The platform also maintains numerous links with stakeholders outside Europe. One example is the Standardization Council i4.0, in which German industrial associations and standardization organizations, together with international organizations, initiate and coordinate standards for digital production. The platform is also co-operating with the Industrial Internet Consortium (USA), the Alliance Industrie du Futur (France) and the Robot Revolution Initiative (Japan). Furthermore, the platform agreed on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China and developed a joint action plan.
We are looking forward to our participation in the Stakeholder Forum in Essen, which will be an excellent opportunity to establish further links with other initiatives, and to identify future steps towards an innovative and competitive digitised industry in Europe.