‘Industry 4.0 needs medium-sized companies’ was the title of a short study published by the Chemnitz Automotive Institute (CATI) at the beginning of the year. This was prompted by the still insufficient integration of medium-sized companies into this future trend of industrial development. Medium-sized companies lack clarity regarding this overused term of ‘industry 4.0’, transparency regarding the associated economic benefits, and the relevant capacities and skills. In this context, CATI is recommending a ‘small-step strategy’ which can and should be initiated immediately.
The Chemnitz Automotive Institute can now itself help to implement this strategy via the practical project ‘Production digitisation in medium-sized companies’. Last week, CATI and its industrial partner CARNET GmbH were awarded a contract for such a project with the Sächsische Aufbaubank (SAB) as part of technology promotion activities by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Under this project, over the next two years methods and tools will be developed for production digitisation in particular for companies in the automotive industry. An example of this is production control using real-time data and information: the majority of this data is already available, but is put to insufficient use. It can also be supplemented and completed using inexpensive technologies, and made available to various users within the company in real time in a location-specific and role-specific way, on various end devices. ‘We expect the medium-sized companies involved to not only gain flexibility with immediate economic benefits, but also see a boost in the development of digital skills’, according to CATI Director Professor Werner Olle who will be heading the project.
There are also already plans for subsequent use of the model solutions arising from the project: after the project is complete, they are to be made available to medium-sized companies in the innovation laboratory within the Institute for Management and Factory Systems at TU Chemnitz.