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Today, the steering committee of Plattform Industrie 4.0 held a meeting chaired by Federal Minister of Research and Education Anja Karliczek and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier. The participants, high-ranking representatives of the industrial sector, associations, science, and the unions, presented the position paper on “COVID-19 and Industrie 4.0”. The paper highlights how Industrie 4.0 solutions can play a part in addressing the economic impact of COVID-19.

Said Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier: “The coronavirus crisis has shown everyone just how important digital interconnection, well-functioning value and supply networks and a secure and interoperable use of data are for the German industrial sector. A consistent implementation of Industrie 4.0 paired with the GAIA-X digital infrastructure will make the German and European industrial sectors more competitive and resilient going forward. The input provided by Plattform Industrie 4.0 is very important for this.”

Education and Research Minister Anja Karliczek said: “Germany’s competitiveness has been given a big boost by the forward-looking approach taken by the Industrie 4.0 project. The research council and the platform are bringing their expertise and networks to the table, thereby supporting research and development in the field of digital technologies. In a next step, it will now be important to give as many small and medium-sized enterprises as possible access to new technologies. If we succeed in this transfer, we stand a good chance of emerging from this crisis stronger. Plattform Industrie 4.0 will be an important partner for us as we venture down this path.”

The coronavirus pandemic is reinforcing and accelerating the trend towards smart and interconnected manufacturing. According to the position paper of Industrie 4.0, Industrie 4.0 is to become the hallmark of a crisis-proof and sustainable industrial sector in Germany and Europe. It is to become widely embedded across the industrial sector, and create open digital ecosystems facilitating B2B relations. The industry representatives working with Plattform Industrie 4.0 also want to harness the opportunities opened up by the stimulus package. Their goal is to tackle the next step in the digital transformation of industries such as vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers.

In its session, the steering committee highlighted the important role of Plattform Industrie 4.0 in a coordinated implementation of Industrie 4.0 at the pre-competitive stage. The Guiding principles for Industrie 4.0 until 2030 (in German) established by the platform have set a structural framework for the creation of digital B2B ecosystems and its implementation among industrial users.

Said Dr Frank Melzer, CTO CTO Festo SE & Co. KG. and chairperson of the steering committee of Plattform Industrie 4.0: “Our guiding principles focus on sovereignty, interoperability, and sustainability, thereby creating an excellent framework for us to emerge from this crisis reinvigorated and expand our role as a global pioneer of open, digital ecosystems. Plattforum Industrie 4.0 is a reliable partner for the success of the digital transformation and is supporting a robust and sustainable development in the German and European industrial sectors.”

In its role as a co-initiator of GAIA-X, Plattform Industrie 4.0 also advocates for the establishment of a sovereign digital infrastructure. Of the eleven founding corporate members/initiatives that will contribute to the future GAIA-X Foundation, seven work in the field of Industrie 4.0. Five of these are represented in the leadership of Industrie 4.0 (SAP SE, Siemens AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, Deutsche Telekom AG and Fraunhofer). The Administration Shell developed by the platform works like an interoperable USB port for Industrie 4.0. Currently, Plattform Industrie 4.0 is preparing for the creation of a user organisation that will be working to broadly promote the use of the administration shell in practice, starting in early 2021. All of the platform’s results can be found in the Progress Report for 2020.

About Plattform Industrie 4.0

Plattform Industrie 4.0 is the central network for driving forward the digital transformation in Germany’s manufacturing sector. With more than 350 stakeholders representing more than 150 organisations, it brings together the political sphere with industry, science, the unions, and associations in a joint effort. The platform supports German companies implementing Industrie 4.0 by providing them with information on use cases etc. and with recommendations. The many international partnerships in which the platform is involved illustrate its strong role in the international debate on Industrie 4.0. More information (in German) at www.plattform-i40.de.