Three questions for ... Joachim Wolf, Director Industry

Industry 4.0: Digital Driver of Success in Production

Norderstedt, April 21, 2017 – Lufthansa Industry Solutions is joining the Labs Network Industrie 4.0 (LNI 4.0), which provides support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on their way to digitization. The subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group will be a guest on the LNI 4.0 stand (Hall 8, Booth D24) at the Hannover Trade Fair from April 24th to 28th, 2017. 

We asked Joachim Wolf, Director Industry of Lufthansa Industry Solutions, what companies should pay particular attention to their way to the smart factory.

What does Industry 4.0 mean for manufacturing companies today and in the future?

Industry 4.0 is simply the prime digital driver of success in production, because it is the only way companies can cope with current developments in digital technology. Autonomous logistics vehicles and production machines, as well as their digital twins, are going to be standard features in the smart factory of the future. Digital twins provide virtual simulations of situations involving real-world devices and machines in order, for instance, to test solutions for repair work. This increasing automation in companies is always driven by the same factors: conserving resources, making maintenance more efficient, and lowering costs.

One change of major importance in this context is a new kind of networking – starting from networked machines within the scope of the Internet of Things (IoT) up to networking that goes beyond the borders of companies to include partners or suppliers. 

How can manufacturing companies manage the change to smart factories with intelligent tools, machines, and vehicles?

The most important components of an Industry 4.0 solution are sensors, interfaces, data transport, and data analysis. The sensors are attached to devices, machines, or tools. From there, they send their data by way of interfaces into the cloud, for instance, to have them analyzed. Especially decisive for networked production are real time data processing and secure data transfer under extreme conditions, as in factory workshops. This has to be based on IT infrastructure that can handle the new requirements of IoT technology.

What should companies pay particular attention to when they introduce new IoT solutions?

Of course, industrial enterprises should generally include the Internet of Things and technologies such as sensors, data analytics, big data, or the cloud as integral parts of their digitization strategy. Another important factor alongside technological aspects, however, is adapting the company’s organization to the new working conditions. After all, every Industry 4.0 project has a direct influence on business processes – and should have. There’s no point in simply installing a sensor somewhere and analyzing the data in the cloud. All solutions have to be integrated into the ordinary course of business. Only then will the objective be achieved: to enhance value added.

About Lufthansa Industry Solutions

Lufthansa Industry Solutions is a service provider for IT consulting and system integration. This Lufthansa subsidiary helps its clients with the digital transformation of their companies. Its customer base includes companies both within and outside the Lufthansa Group, as well as more than 200 companies in various lines of business. The company is based in Norderstedt and employs more than 1,300 members of staff at several branch offices in Germany, Switzerland and the USA.