Don’t wait for standards before moving towards Smart Manufacturing

'Industrie 4.0' is not a moment in time. A good strategy considers how to use current standards to facilitate change that matters today – and support future evolution. Therefore, the standards cell 'Industrie 4.0' launches its monthly newsletter.

'Smart Manufacturing' has been called many things: Manufacturing USA (U.S.), Industrie 4.0 (Germany), China 2025 (China), or Industrie du Futur (France), Robot Revolution Initiative (Japan). The UK, Sweden, Korea and India all have done country-specific efforts as well. 

What do they have in common? They are all:

  • creating a vision for Smart Manufacturing
  • utilising the power of digitalisation to help manufacturers reduce capex, improve time to market, reduce inventory and improve productivity
  • extending existing standards to realise the vision 

The last point is an important distinction: these initiatives are not creating new standards. They are classifying how best to use existing standards.

So that means the groundwork for 'Industrie 4.0' and other initiatives is being done in standard developing organisations, such as IEC, ISO, ISA, IEEE and the OPC Foundation. That is where the influence starts and leadership takes hold.

Industrie 4.0 standards landscape
(Source: IEC TC65 Dashboard)

The time to start is now

For organisations hesitant to start their journey to Smart Manufacturing until new standards are complete, there is only one advice: get started. There is no reason to wait. 

'Industrie 4.0' standards will take decades to come to the ideal state where data flows seamlessly among multi-vendor applications and devices. But rather than see that as a reason to delay, it should be seen as a reason to start now. Industry is slow to adapt to new technologies, mostly because it can take decades to replace existing assets with new, 'Industrie 4.0' versions. The transition should take place in phases. 'Industrie 4.0' is not a moment in time. A good strategy considers how to use current standards to facilitate change that matters today – and support future evolution. 

The standards cell Industry 4.0 has a vocation to help builders of machines and of automated manufacturing cells, computer system integrators and end users to take into account acknowledged or pending standards when elaborating explicit development strategies for the company's internal or external digital services. Because Germany's Standardisation Council Industrie 4.0 has decided to standardise relevant specifications mainly through IEC TC65, we will focus in priority on the work of this technical committee.  

To help you shift from a 'Hierarchical Automation Architecture' to a 'Service Oriented Control Architecture' we will publish a monthly newsletter (in English), dedicated to providing the latest news within the 'Industrie 4.0' standards landscape
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