Blog Apr 25, 2014

Bavaria's user industries equip themselves for industry 4.0

Cars learn how to see and steer, machines automatically order their spare parts and products are being developed in conjunction with their production environment: The fourth industrial revolution is in full swing. Bavaria's high-tech sectors – above all the user industries – benefit from this early on which is also thanks to a closely connected research landscape.

As an industrial location, Bavaria is taking giant steps towards industry 4.0 and is gearing itself up for a higher level. IT is a key driver for more productivity and efficiency not only for high-tech industries such as the aerospace industry or mechanical engineering, but above all for user industries including the automotive sector. The focus is shifting increasingly towards technologies such as big data, cloud computing, cyber-physical systems, machine to machine communication, RFID transmitter chips and other similar areas. What's essentially new are the possibilities that are being brought about as these solutions interact with one another. Smart factory only marks the beginning. Fully integrated environments are set to arise in the near future, for instance smart grids, smart logistics, smart mobility and of course smart products – which can also be classed as services. This is far more than just a technological revolution, our working and living environments will undergo fundamental changes.

From the Internet of humans to the Internet of things.
Machines and products, and even equipment and services are learning to communicate with one another. This not only marks huge progress with regard to automation, flexibility and efficiency, but also brings with it entirely new value chains and business models. The area of M2M technologies alone bears huge potential for Bavaria in control technology, logistics, energy supply and electromobility. Thus an industrial ecosystem is possible in which the vehicle's components, battery, charging infrastructure and parking space are cleverly connected. Regardless of the sector, the common denominator is always the most valuable resource of our time – information. The future belongs to those companies who make smart use of this resource.

Challenges faced by the economy and society.
Industry 4.0 incites a high degree of dynamism in all sectors, in big industrial corporations as well as among the hidden champions of small and medium sized companies or small start-ups. A lot will happen not only in the business-to-business segment but also for consumer-oriented applications – anywhere where data and technology have to be cleverly connected. Today, goods and services are produced with increasingly complex and distributed systems. It is such systems that open up new and very promising possibilities with the aim of conserving valuable resources and solving huge challenges such as energy efficiency or climate protection. In this sense, the whole society benefits from industry 4.0.

Increasing complexity demands more networking.
Wherever innovations are required, close cooperation with partners in fields of research and development is crucial. Bavaria can provide the ideal platform for this, especially with regard to applied research. Together with universities and research institutions, the clusters in key technologies automotive, mechatronics & automation, sensor technology and environmental technology form a close-knit network with an intensive transfer of knowledge and technology. Renowned research institutions such as the Fraunhofer Institute and many more establish the breeding ground for innovation. On top of that, there is a very vibrant start-up scene – not only in the IT stronghold of Munich. There are over 50 technology centres and business incubators all over Bavaria. Innovative companies can develop quickly and thrive here. This is exactly what brings industry 4.0 to life: new ideas that quickly become innovations.

Revolution demands new qualification
Bavaria is also well established in the fields of education and science. Bavaria's elite universities alone – the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich (LMU) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) – are extremely attractive destinations for people. A total of nine state universities and 17 universities of applied sciences provide the next generation of qualified professionals. One unique feature of the education system in German-speaking countries is the dual apprenticeship and dual degree programme, i.e. the option of completing an apprenticeship within a company in conjunction with undertaking studies at a vocational college, vocational academy or university. And not to forget the generally good location factors that attract specialist staff from all over the world to Bavaria: a strong economy, security and high quality of life.

Bavaria as an initial base
As the economic promotion agency of the Free State of Bavaria, we establish contact with clusters and potential cooperation partners, help to find a location and look into available funding. Our service has been active since 1999. Since then we have successfully completed a project every five days with companies from Asia, the USA and Canada but also from Europe who have in the meantime become part of our research and development network and who have an initial base from which they can tap into the European market.