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EDITORIAL The time is ripe for changes In 1913 Henry Ford introduced the assembly line to his automobile factory in Detroit. Without this revolutionary idea, 90 million cars a year would certainly not be rolling out of factory doors today. But a lot has happened in the last 100 years. Assembly line production makes sense especially when the products being manufactured are always identical. In automobile manufacturing, however, that is generally no longer true. To remain competitive, car manufacturers offer their customers more and more models, engines, versions and options. And so it now happens in certain price segments that no identical vehicles at all leave the line. What consequences could this situation have for how manufacturing is organized? I mean serious consequences – consistently thought through to the end, the result could be a new revolution with the result that traditional flow manufacturing as it is known today disappears from the factories of this world. Our intralogistics industry has already developed the technologies to do this: Intelligent Automated Guided Vehicles that are digitally networked and move around in production halls. Resources of this kind could be used to eliminate forever a line stoppage in manufacturing due to a lack of parts, for example, or because an employee is unable to keep up with the assigned cycle time, or to convert to a different model option. Automotive manufacturer Audi is already using this automated technology at its site in Neckarsulm, Germany, and is counting on a boost in productivity in the two-digit percentage range – so the time is indeed ripe for changes. Our intralogistics industry has already developed the technologies of the future Winfried Bauer Editor-in-chief (email@example.com) INTRALOGISTICS & DISTRIBUTION Publisher: Dipl.-Ing. Reiner Wesselowski (We) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Editor-in-chief: Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Winfried Bauer (WB), Email: email@example.com Editorial board: Dipl.-Medienwirtin (FH) Marie Krueger (MK), Holger Seybold (Sey) Svenja Stenner (SST) Dipl.-Ing. Manfred Weber (MW) Assistant editor: Svenja Stenner Design/layout: Sonja Schirmer, Doris Buchenau, Anette Fröder, Mario Wüst Epaper designer: Katja Rüdell, Mathias Göbel Managing editor: Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Winfried Bauer Publishing house: Vereinigte Fachverlage GmbH Lise-Meitner-Str. 2, 55129 Mainz, Germany Commercial Register No.: HRB 2270, District Court of Mainz VAT-ID: DE149063659 Managing director: Dr. Olaf Theisen Publishing director: Dr. Michael Werner, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Correspondent India: Sushen Haresh Doshi M.Sc. Advertising sales director: Beatrice Thomas-Meyer Email: email@example.com Advertising sales manager: Andreas Zepig, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising representatives: Austria Heinz-Joachim Greiner Email: email@example.com China, India Andreas Zepig, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org France Marc Jouanny, Email: email@example.com Great Britain, Ireland Roberto Tondina, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Italy, Switzerland Hermann Jordi, Email: email@example.com Sweden, Finland, Norway Malte Mezger Email: firstname.lastname@example.org USA, Canada Bill Fox, Email: email@example.com Advertising Disposition: Annemarie Benthin, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org In cooperation with: Hannover Fairs International GmbH Messegelände, 30521 Hannover, Germany VDMA – German Engineering Federation Trade Association Materials Handling and Intralogistics Lyoner Straße 18, 60528 Frankfurt, Germany Additional Partner: Moskauer Deutsche Zeitung Internet: www.en.engineering-news.net 9 th year (2017)