Visit to the factory of the future with Germanedge CEO Christian von Stengel
Christian von Stengel: What do you associate with the factory of the future?
“The factory of the future will be highly networked and highly visualized. Furthermore, it will be adaptable and integrated into the entire supply chain and also will be future focused. The factory of the future will no longer be a matter of simply looking in the rear-view mirror to understand the past. But to look ahead in order to shape the future.
When we imagine what work will look like in the factory of the future: Virtual. This means that regardless of my location, I can “see” what is happening – and display different layers of information.“
Will there be a digital revolution similar to the industrial revolution?
“Will? It’s already here. The current trend is towards “Everything is software”. In more and more products it is no longer the hardware but the software that makes the difference. This can also be an empowered Connected Worker.“
Talking about the Connected Worker: Where will you find the people in the factory of the future? Or rather: Are there any workers left in the production floor?
“Yes. You find them where you need them. This means: Wherever creativity, situational adaptation and decisions are needed, people are in demand.
Also for filigree and complex movement patterns. The worker uses all digital tools to support this way of working: from smart watches and mobile devices to large screens, virtual rooms and working remotely. To bring man and machine into perfect flow, the factory worker of the future must be developed into a Connected Worker.“
Who thinks more in the factory of the future: man or machine?
“Think? Good question. Does man think? Or does he act in a trained way, from the gut, intuitively or from a routine? Thinking does not seem to me to be a relevant category.
More important to me seems to be the question of “deciding”. In this context, specially programmed algorithms will become increasingly common. The “final decision”, however, remains with humans in the long run.“
That sounds complex. Does this mean that only engineers will work in the factory of the future?
“No, but highly trained skilled workers. It is also important to understand that the digital infrastructure in the factory of the future and machines will become more complex. But working with the information from this digital structure does not have to be complex for the individual! When done correctly, the result is an integrated platform with an intuitive interface for operation. Of course, there is a need for further development of the employees. But this is a common and indispensable path.“
The question remains: How will man and machine work together in the factory of the future?
“Hand in hand. Head to head. Collaborative.
The human being helps the algorithm to learn. The algorithm helps people to make faster, better and safer decisions.
In addition, cyber-physical systems will relieve the strain on people and at the same time give them new abilities and thus possibilities for use.“
What do you see as the key to success in digital production?
“Courage and curiosity. The will to learn, no fear of mistakes and resource allocation. It is about focusing on results that change the world.“
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