Anyone who says Industry 4.0 also means Smart Factory. Yeah, another buzzword. What sounds simple at first glance is actually more complex than you might think. According to Gartner, a Smart Factory describes the application of different combinations of modern technologies to create a hyperflexible and self-adapting manufacturing capability. Thus, the smart factory is a fundamental capability of today’s and tomorrow’s smart manufacturing, which in turn fuels digital supply chain and fuels Industry 4.0 initiatives.

Smart Factory, IoT & 5G

So, what does such a Smart Factory look like and how does it work? Smart factories are loaded with sensors, are highly automated and can organize themselves automatically. Intelligently, the systems are constantly working to optimize productivity and quality. This is usually made possible by a so-called cyber physical system and the intelligent networking of machines and products. The product itself communicates the information required for production to the Smart Factory – and this information is used to control the individual production steps until the desired result is achieved. Especially in connection with IoT and the increased use of 5G, new possibilities for wireless communication within a smart factory are emerging (more about the 5G hype topic on zdnet.com).

The role of Supply Chain 4.0

The production and thus the limits of the Smart Factory do not stop with the limitation of the production site, of course. Automobile manufacturers and their suppliers in particular have large, widely ramified supplier networks – the end-to-end digitalization and, above all, transparent data evaluation of the supply chain is particularly important here. Consequently, Smart Factory must also be linked to a Supply Chain 4.0 in order to be able to act in an all-round automated and intelligent manner. In this commentary article on the topic “From Smart Factory to Smart Supply Chain” you can read more about this.

Digital Twins as a database

Only through the digital footprint of a product, a process or the machines themselves, the so-called Digital Twin and the data it contains is a Smart Factory truly intelligent and able to make evaluations and simulations for possible production scenarios. It does this in virtual space, without having to intervene in and influence real processes. Possible errors can be identified with a predictive strategy before they are transferred to the physical processes. In addition, a central strength of a Digital Twin lies in the associated visualization of the data and their simulations.

No digital Super Revolution without the „Human Touch“

Taking this one step further, it also means that a Smart Factory is always also about knowing and analyzing all possible events in the production, and thus always being two steps ahead. Sophisticated algorithms are then used to determine which events are highly likely to occur and are passed on to human operators, for example. Ideally, all materials, components and products are always in the right place at exactly the right time and can be processed immediately. The central role of software is of course undisputed: it is what makes manufacturing and logistics into a coherent system. But even a Smart Factory is not possible without the human factor. No matter how sophisticated the technology may be, the machines still need the “human touch”. This is also our philosophy at Germanedge: The digital super revolution only takes place with people. Only through the interaction of our technology and our SaaS platform EdgeOne and the smart minds behind it, as well as the customers who use our technology, will the true potential of Industry 4.0 be made visible and usable.

Germanedge and Smart Factory solutions

Would you like to learn more about Germanedge and the role of our individual solutions in the context of a Smart Factory? We will be happy to provide you with more information about the solutions of our companies GEFASOFT, New Solutions, Objective, ORSOFT and QDA SOLUTIONS. Simply send us an e-mail to info@germanedge.com.