Digitization is in full swing and has resulted in far-reaching changes – in both the private and professional spheres. This will necessitate the transformation of traditional business models. Many companies now recognize this fact. According to a study by PwC more than 90% of Germany’s industrial companies are investing in digital factories, where people, machines and processes are interconnected by means of sophisticated information and communication technology. This trend – known as Industry 4.0 – is creating the basis for smart value chains, which boost productivity, cut production and logistics costs, and lead to more flexibility.
The intralogistics sector is actively involved in this transformation process and is spearheading innovative Industry 4.0 technologies. It is now possible to digitize and seamlessly integrate all the components in complex intralogistics systems – from machinery and controls to software and cloud storage. Thanks to the smart networking of production and logistics, detailed data is available – internally and externally – about processes and products. So-called dashboards or plant visualization systems deliver instantaneous information about the status of production plants, potential interruptions, as well as necessary maintenance work.
To meet the future demands of Industry 4.0, further technological developments are called for in three areas: sensors, communication and data science. This conclusion has been reached in the "Technology Roadmaps Intralogistics 2025" compiled by the Fraunhofer Institute for Materials Flow and Logistics on behalf of the VDMA Association for Materials Handling and Intralogistics. Published to coincide with CeMAT 2018, these roadmaps indicate which steps will be necessary in order to realize the vision of self-optimizing logistics systems. "Against the background of digital transformation this is an urgent necessity in order to automate and – ultimately – autonomize production processes," says Dr. Klaus-Dieter Rosenbach, Chairman of the VDMA Association for Materials Handling and Intralogistics. It is essential to connect different systems in such a way that they can communicate and operate with each other. This is why integrated digital technology is high up on the agenda in Hannover – as evidenced in the combination of HANNOVER MESSE, CeMAT and Digital Factory, the Leading Trade Show for Integrated Processes and IT Solutions. One of the exhibitors at Digital Factory (Hall 7) is viastore, a leading supplier of warehouse management systems/software, as well as automated materials handling solutions for logistics and manufacturing. "We network material flows across existing boundaries and integrate logistics and production processes effectively within our warehouse management systems and manufacturing execution systems," explains Dr. Harald Göbel, COO of viastore Software. This delivers the basis for efficient processes and optimum transparency in smart factories and along the supply chain. To this extent intralogistics will play a key role in Industry 4.0 on the way to integrated production