Festo hands over chairmanship of the Plattform Industrie 4.0

CTO Dr Frank Melzer takes stock of his term and gives an outlook  

Dr. Melzer

At the Hannover Messe, Dr Frank Melzer, Member of the Management Board for Product and Technology Management, handed over his chairmanship of the steering committee, the central steering body of the Plattform Industrie 4.0, in rotation. Festo remains represented on the platform's chairing committee and continues to be committed to the digital transformation of industry. Digital twins for Industrie 4.0, sovereign data infrastructure and ecologically sustainable production through decentralised intelligence as well as qualification are the focus.

The official handover of the chairmanship of the steering committee of Plattform Industrie 4.0 took place today as part of the Leaders' Dialogue at the Hannover Messe – purely virtually, due to Corona. Dr Frank Melzer, Member of the Management Board for Product and Technology Management at Festo, drew a positive overall balance and wished his successor, Dr Frank Possel-Dölken, Chief Digital Officer and Member of the Management Board of Phoenix Contact, all the best for the continuation of the platform: “I am always inspired by the cross-organisational cooperation in the platform, in which we have been playing a decisive role in shaping the process of the digital transformation of industry for ten years now. We have already achieved a lot with the Plattform Industrie 4.0, but there is still a lot to do with regard to safe, digitally networked and ecologically sustainable production.

Key milestones

In the last two years, the development of a common 2030 Vision for Industrie 4.0 as well as the foundation of the European GAIA-X Association and the Industrial Digital Twin Assocation (IDTA) were important milestones on the way to a broad implementation of Industrie 4.0 in modern production systems.

“With the 2030 Vision for Industrie 4.0, we have created a common framework for action to shape digital ecosystems globally, with the three main strands of sovereignty, interoperability and sustainability. GAIA-X will create an important contribution to digital sovereignty in Europe with a secure and connected data infrastructure. The user organisation IDTA will help the Digital Twin for Industrie 4.0, like the cross-manufacturer and interoperable administration shell designed in the platform, to achieve a breakthrough. In interaction, new business models will become possible, which will also make an important contribution to crisis-proof and ecologically sustainable value creation,” says Dr Frank Melzer.

Corona as an enabler of digitalisation

The fact that Industrie 4.0 can contribute to overcoming the Corona crisis was already shown last summer in the position paper “COVID-19 and Industrie 4.0”. “Right now there is an enormous willingness to make the next leap in digitalization – both in companies and in politics,” says Dr Frank Melzer. Consequently, the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy has included the digital transformation of production in the supplier industry in the multi-billion economic stimulus package and investment programme for vehicle manufacturing.

Digitalisation supports sustainability

“Industrie 4.0 will also make a substantial contribution to the ecological transformation of our value creation,” says Dr Frank Melzer. At the last digital summit of the German government, the platform was able to show concrete company examples and development paths towards a digital, networked and sustainable production of the future. The impulse paper “Sustainable Production” has taken the lead on what digitalisation can contribute to sustainability. In addition to ecological sustainability, social sustainability is also an important cornerstone of Industrie 4.0. Accordingly, the Charter for Work and Learning Industry 4.0 was handed over to the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Education. “The charter ensures that social sustainability is and remains at the core of Industrie 4.0,” says Dr Frank Melzer.

The course is set for the future

Festo will continue to drive the digital transformation of industry – on the steering committee of the Plattform Industrie 4.0 and beyond. Festo is paying particular attention to the use of the digital twin for intelligent components, systems and processes as well as decentralised automation solutions with AI and – via Festo Didactic – qualification solutions for networked and ecologically sustainable production. Festo is therefore involved in the board of the IDTA or in the management of the task force “Industrie 4.0 & Sustainability” of the Plattform Industrie 4.0 and works closely with the industry associations as well as other environmental stakeholders. “Industrie 4.0 offers essential solutions for a modern circular economy and minimising the carbon footprint. We are helping to solve major challenges of the future,” says Dr Frank Melzer.

“This committee and network work is extremely valuable for us as a technology leader in automation technology. It allows us to discuss new concepts and develop standards for a future-proof, sustainable and globally competitive industry together with our partners,” says Dr Frank Melzer.