Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Smart Structures, School of Computing Engineering and Mathematics, Western Sydney University, Australia. His research interests cover Industry 4.0, Additive Manufacturing, Advanced Engineering Materials and Structures (Metals and Composites), Multi-scale Modelling of Materials and Structures, Metal Forming and Metal Surface Treatment.
Abstract—Cost pressure, competitiveness and the increasing turbulence of globalized saturated markets have been the driver for a variety of research activities in the field of production planning and control (PPC) during the past decades. For some time past an increasing awareness for introducing Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and the Internet to industrial production can be noticed. This trend is synonymously called ‘Smart Production’, ‘Industry 4.0’ or ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). The key aspect aims to improve the basis for planning by optimising the data quality to ensure a mastery of the turbulent planning environment. So-called cyber physical systems (CPS) form the basis of this approach and allow an intelligent networking and interaction of products, machines, storage systems, production resources and human employees. Although there are many promising approaches, a solely implementation of innovative smart IT-solutions will not be sufficient to prepare a company´s production for future changes. For a successful and effective realization of the IoT concept, important adaptions of existing organizational structures and processes are necessary. To accelerate the digital transformation, the requirements for a successful cooperation between human employees and technology within production planning and control need to be further analyzed and evaluated. This paper presents the key results of an extensive study that was conducted by the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) of the RWTH Aachen University to evaluate the current situation and examine the organizational readiness for the upcoming digital transformation. The study aims to show the need for action within different industries as a first step towards the digitized and networked production of the future.
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