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Sunday, 25 October 2020

Industry 4.0 on everyone’s lips

Thursday, 27 April 2017 | Posted by: Kirsten Wrede, European Coatings Journal

I don’t really like it when people carelessly use terms whose meaning isn’t clear straight away. One example is the super buzz word "Industry 4.0”. This is the main theme at the Hannover Fair 2017, which is taking place in the northern German city (that is also home of our publishing house, by the way). 

"Get ready for the connected industry” is the slogan of this year’s exhibition. Why, though, is it "4.0” of all things, I dare ask. Or can you come up with an explanation just like that?

I have now taken a closer look at it:

In short:

Industry 1.0 = Start of mass production by machines

Industry 2.0 = Further automisation by introduction of electricity

Industry 3.0 = Further automisation by electronics and IT

Industry 4.0 = Modern technology and production in the age of the digital revolution

Our local newspaper recently included a glossary on its pages dedicated to the show, explaining the current buzz words to the "normal” reader. What does "Industry 4.0” mean at all? What’s the story about "the internet of things”, "artificial intelligence”, "virtual reality”, and "augmented reality”? I have to admit that I found these explanations very useful, even though I have been confronted with these terms for quite some time and I actually know their meaning.

At the latest European Coatings Show, digitisation and the internet of things have played a more significant role than in 2015.

Two examples I have chosen at random:

At the Evonik stand, visitors could virtually dive into the new High Throughput Equipment (HTE) system by means of a 360-degree video. The system can be used for fully automated testing of coating formulations, which shortens the search for the optimum formulation.

Yaveon and Daenet presented the benefits of the Microsoft "HoloLens” for the paints and coatings industry at the ECS. Production orders can be handled in real time in the "mixed reality”. Using the "HoloLens”, the production area is equipped virtually with mobile terminals and 3D touch points that can be allotted in any order and also move with the operator, if needed. A simple gesture control is possible with work gloves as well. Thus, a direct registration of all processes is possible in real time.

I’m sure there’ll be more examples like these at the next ECS in two years.

At the Hannover Fair, topics like automation and digitisation traditionally have a different significance. According to a recent newspaper article, "easy-going and economical industry robots” play a major role this year. As it happens, also German Chancellor Angela Merkel got in touch with a robot at her traditional tour across the exhibition halls, just like in recent years.

And I’m sure that many employees of coatings or printing inks companies have visited the Hannover Fair in order to get to know new solutions in terms of Industry 4.0 in practice, digital factory or smart materials & coatings. I would be interested in learning what you have taken home with you and which solutions you would like to implement in your company. Please write to me! 

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