“Where were you when you first heard that President Kennedy had been shot?”. It’s the type of question whereby the response is irrelevant yet somehow assumes an important role in the mind-set of the person being asked simply because of the gravity of the subject involved.
Well, I’ve had a couple of similar flashbacks recently, thanks to the increasing media coverage of the so-called “Internet of Things” (first heard in the offices of Flowrox in Lappeenranta, Finland) as well as “Industry 4.0” (uttered by Dr Gunter Spiegel during a tour of BASF’s facilities in Ludwigshafen, Germany).
The term " Industry 4.0" apparently originated from within the German government, looking to promote a very high-tech approach to manufacturing. It has been defined as (and I quote from Wikipedia) “a collective term for technologies and concepts of value chain organization' which draws together Cyber-Physical Systems, the Internet of Things and the Internet of Services.”
So is Industry 4.0 something that the flow control industry really needs to be aware of? Well, quite possibly it should be, judging from the increasing number of related news items arriving on my desk. Just this morning, for example, I received the following update from Siemens: “Siemens is paving the way towards industrial digitalization. To support our customers on their way to attaining Industry 4.0, no matter what size their company and no matter in which industry, we have undertaken further development of our Digital Enterprise portfolio. We are now in a position to offer them even more and even better solutions to address their needs”.
And just a few days ago we received an article from rapidea’s Dr. -Ing. Ingo Bruchhold , who wrote to us about innovative smart plant engineering. Dr Bruchhold states that: “Smart plant engineering delivers high efficiency, uses less raw materials and energy and ensures sustainable management of resources and less environmental pollution. The increase in the degree of automation will also increase plant engineering and processing safety”.
Dr Bruchhold’s text presented such a clear description of a smart plant that we have published it in the May issue of Valve World. Hopefully it will prove thought-provoking, so if you have any experiences with Industry 4.0, smart engineering, etc we would as always be delighted to hear from you.