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Just do it: Industry 4.0 in practice

Bosch Software Innovations provides specific recommendations for action

“Industry 4.0,” “Industrial Internet,” “Internet of Things,” and “big data” are buzzwords that figure prominently at every trade fair in the mechanical engineering sector. Yet many companies are still hesitant to put Industry 4.0, also known as the Industrial Internet, into practice and seem to be waiting for the decisive key technology to arrive. In a white paper entitled “Industry 4.0: putting the vision into practice,” Bosch Software Innovations shows what’s already possible. Options range from taking the first steps towards connecting physical objects with the virtual world to steering existing business to new services. Author Dr. Verena Majuntke provides specific recommendations for how machine and component manufacturers can start introducing connected technologies in order to implement profitable services.

Major potential for machine and component manufacturers

“Industry 4.0 is more than a vision of and for the future,” emphasizes Dr. Majuntke, senior solution architect for Industry 4.0 at Bosch Software Innovations GmbH. “This technology offers major potential for machine and component manufacturers. We are already seeing new business models that will develop further over the next few years.” Excellent opportunities are to be found, particularly in the services sector. This has been an especially lucrative business for traditional machinery manufacturers, but is now threatened by dwindling sales due to increasing standardization in the spare parts business. However, new technologies for the Internet of Things, such as remote access or data analytics, and new expertise in connected software solutions are supplying new input for the further development of service concepts. These allow mechanical engineering companies to stand out from the competition and strengthen their market position.

Industry 4.0 innovation cycle

Industry 4.0 innovation cycle Icon lens
Developing an existing business toward new services in the Industrial Internet

In practice, companies often struggle with how to start implementing Industry 4.0. “Rollout of these kinds of innovative approaches doesn’t always follow a linear process. New business potential is frequently discovered while Industry 4.0 technologies are being introduced – and sometimes not until afterwards,” Dr. Majuntke explains. “That’s why we at Bosch Software Innovations developed the Industry 4.0 innovation cycle. It provides mechanical engineering companies with a method for getting started and specific ways to refine Industry 4.0 solutions.”

Industry 4.0 innovation cycle: Download graphic

Just do it

The initial step is to equip components and machines with necessary Industry 4.0 features, such as sensors, actuators, machine-level software, and network access. This lays the foundation for capturing relevant data from multiple machines. The data can be evaluated in a second step, particularly to detect patterns – putting companies in a position to meet forecasts and automate decision-making processes. In predictive maintenance, for example, these methods are already delivering benefits by making it possible for companies to respond to maintenance requests faster and more precisely. Once these technical requirements have been met, companies can build on them to establish new business models. But it makes sense to first develop existing services further. “Industry 4.0 is more than a buzzword; at Bosch, it’s already a reality,” says Dr. Majuntke. “Companies should make use of the ‘Nike effect’ by embracing the ‘Just do it’ slogan and diving right in.”