There it is again, that phrase that ends with 4.0. Do I have to pay attention to it even if my production is already largely automated? Or is it all just hype in the end?
One of the biggest differences between conventional production automation and Industry 4.0 is the enormous increase in intelligent communication – between machine and workpiece, human and machine, software and machine – and, of course between machine and machine. The entire value-creation chain is integrated into this complex data exchange in the world of Industry 4.0 and the "Internet of Things" – increasingly also in the flat glass industry.
If cutting systems and buffers, processing centers and modern production lines are connected to one another across the boards via software systems, sensors, actuators, and processors, then this extends far beyond what has been discussed thus far with regard to the keyword "automation."
The quantity of data that is generated all the time and exchanged multiplies. Different communication systems grow quickly and complement one another. This way, purely barcode-based PDC (plant data collection), as is already standard in well-networked production environments in the flat glass industry, is enriched with machine data: electronic intelligence in tiny components connects the "real world made of steel" with the digital world. The share of data that is delivered by machines is increasingly rapidly and will initially supplement manual systems; in the long run, however, it will probably replace them.