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MDA Technologies 2/2015

MDA Technologies 2/2015

GLOBAL BUSINESS

GLOBAL BUSINESS Bottom-up rather than top-down! Now it has been awarded, the so-called “4 th Industrial Revolution”. A broad alliance of federal government and leading associations are promoting the debate on the future of the industry. The current hype may seem a bit surprising. Why the fuss? IT has established everywhere over the past thirty years. But what is so new about this phenomenon, that it deserves to be called the next „industrial revolution“? The excitement is due to the fact that transfer rates and processor speeds are now performing on levels at which they can be usefully employed in interconnected industrial processes. Not long ago, industrial robots were considered “lone wolves”, for example, setting welding spots on cars. Today, they can communicate with one another and automate the entire value chain, without human intervention. But production cannot be viewed as a closed circuit. Especially in Germany’s medium-sized industrial culture, production is not possible without independent suppliers. Germany has benefitted from it and has reached high levels of productivity. Having independent entrepreneurs as car seat- or muffler-manufacturers, for instance, they will by nature act economically. It is in these manufacturers’ own interest to optimize the intermediate step in the production, for which they are responsible. So, if many individual profit centers are bound together like beads on a string – optimal production is not the result of a “big umbrella strategy”. Their interaction with the other parts of the system is constantly re-balanced. For such actors, the new communication strategy – meant to convince them that “Industrie 4.0” is a good thing – seems strange. Entrepreneurs know what is best for their companies. Hannover Region offers the best examples of this successful collaboration. Many companies are working in the automotive sector, for example, as suppliers to Volkswagen and others. But similar structures can prove to be beneficial in medical devices or renewable energy here. The region offers its experience to individuals from outside who are interested. More information: www.industry4you.de. Two risks At the same time, all parties are aware, that any kind of change also poses risks. But where are they in “Industrie 4.0”? Here, history provides an illuminating insight. Konrad Zuse, a German, developed the very first computer. Thus, we cannot say that Germany missed a trend with regard to that revolutionary technology. But who dominates today? Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and eBay - all US firms. Formerly small, innovative entrepreneurs with a good idea and perseverance have created products and companies that dominate the world. And why? Because, an innovative process cannot be ordered “from the outside”. After all, inventions “simply happen”. Government programs can indeed provide an impetus, but they should not patronize entrepreneurs and innovators in small and mediumsized enterprises. Bring players together! The IT sector, in particular, is full of such stories. Trendsetters of the past are now the standard-setters. And the term “standard” is a keyword for the second big risk. Each of us is familiar with the difficulty of differing software, for example between Microsoft and Apple. A highly networked process chain in the industry cannot tolerate inconsistencies, as we do when we are forced to use a graphically distorted presentation simply because it was created by a different program to that on the presenting computer. Co-operation requires standardization. Standardization is already so optimized, that identical engines are even installed by different car-manufacturers and in different models. Today’s automated process chains are still far from being a standard. Who can blame SME’s for being reluctant until an industry standard has been established? For the time being, it is too risky, for many suppliers, to focus on standards for a specific customer while another demands different ones. This is precisely the reason, why SMEs in particular stand hesitantly on the sidelines. “Industrie 4.0” aims at resolving this balancing act. Large companies must rely on SMEs and the latter’s leading role. It is not about small and big players; all must act on equal footing. Small and medium-sized enterprises should not be annoyed by this. The Economic Development Corporation hannoverimpuls is aware of its role as a mediator and actively accepts the tasks involved. With its large network, not only in the region but also internationally, it brings important players together, while always maintaining creative freedom. Photographs: teaser fotolia www.hannoverimpuls.com Dr. Christian Brömer, hannoverimpuls GmbH 16 MDA Technologies 2/2015

WE KEEP YOU AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION Julian Massler (21) Bronze medal at the Junior European Championships 2011 Sponsered by ARGO-HYTOS Fluid power technology for success Innovations and intelligent system solutions combined with flexibility and productivity – ARGO HYTOS sets new standards in all areas of fluid power technology. We support young talents in sailing on their road to success. This is also the way our customers experience us: As an active partner – for more than 65 years. ARGO-HYTOS GMBH · Industriestrasse 9 · 76703 Kraichtal · Germany · Tel. + 49 7250 76-0 · info.de@argo-hytos.com · www.argo-hytos.com

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