On 4 April 2017, Festo South Africa hosted a seminar at which its global Industry 4.0 campaign head, Eberhard Klotz, demystified the concepts and introduced the key opportunities. Introducing Klotz at the start of the seminar, Festo South Africa’s Russell Schwultz said that, while Industry 4.0 is much spoken about, “it doesn’t seem real yet".
"In South Africa, we need to demystify the concepts and make them more practical. Globally, unlike many other companies, Festo is able to back the rhetoric with products. Industry 4.0 is something we believe in, we are investing in it and proving the principles in practice in our own factories,” he revealed, adding that the purpose of the day was to “declutter and demystify” the technology by introducing things that are happening right now, “things that are sure to affect us in the future”.
Klotz introduced Industry 4.0 as the starting point for many changes. His opening slide read: ‘Industry 4.0 describes the fundamental change to value creation chains and the life-cycle of products, where the real and virtual world grow together.’
“Currently, one big disadvantage is that there are no precise definitions for Industry 4.0,” he continued. “We tend to draw a broad picture regarding the networking of components, machines and factories. But there are different terms being used to describe this: the Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Factory, for example.
“In Germany, though, where the Industry 4.0 term was first used, we use it to refer to the change in production and manufacturing techniques that become possible because of the power of modern communication networks,” he explained.
“It’s about networking of machines and components to enable modifications and changes to be made to production systems. This is the focus from a production point of view,” he reiterated, “it’s about the use of networking to better manage our production processes.”
[caption id="attachment_37541" align="aligncenter" width="300"] CLICK TO ENLARGE Networked production will make factories of the future much more effective and efficient[/caption]