Current situation and prospects for Industry 4.0

The current situation and possible future scenarios for the industry in the light of Industry 4.0 were investigated in the context of a study carried out in 2018 (open here). The results of the study revealed that at the companies asked almost all information is available and can be transmitted in digital form. This means that the requirements for the digitisation of processes in the cement industry, which is the basis for Industry 4.0, are largely satisfied. What's more, certain automated process steps such as clinker manufacture or cement grinding have reached an even higher degree of Industry 4.0 maturity. Control of these processes is already largely autonomous at the plants, with continuous monitoring in the control room. As a general rule employees only have to actively intervene in the case of critical situations.
The cement industry faces the following broader challenges with regard to the implementation of Industry 4.0:

  • Shortage of skilled personnel: Most companies are already having difficulty finding enough employees with information technology skills and the demand is still rising.
  • Internet access: An inadequate internet bandwidth at the plant locations is often an obstacle to greater utilisation of Industry 4.0 applications.
  • Data security reservations: Another factor limiting the widespread use of web-based solutions is concern about data security, in relation to the use of cloud services for example.

Latest study

Here you can read and download the latest study on "Industry 4.0 in the cement industry – current situation and prospects" (German only).

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Digitisation in practice

The industry is currently concentrating its efforts on developing solutions for the efficient and reliable handling of data. The aim is to obtain the standardised storage of and simple access to data at cement plants. In the long term this would simplify the work involved in integrating new data-driven applications. In addition, specific research projects are investigating the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in the cement industry environment.

Two possible scenarios are foreseeable for the cement industry with regard to the downstream value chain: Increasing automation in the manufacture and application of concretes as a result of new technologies in the concrete and construction industries as well as the migration of the building industry towards integrated digital modelling (Building Information Modelling, BIM). The consequence of the latter would be increasing demands for building material manufacturers to supply detailed product information in digital form. Companies throughout the building industry value chain are working together at national and European level to create a standard framework for data exchange in this area as well.

Digital process support

Digital process support covers process-related subjects in the field of digitisation and Industry 4.0, as well as the directly associated aspects of simulation technology. The central areas of work include the creation of standard data structures, the utilisation and in particular the robustness of Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications, as well as the development and use of a wide range of simulation methods for process optimisation and training purposes. Find out more

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Person to contact

Do you have questions regarding this topic?

Manuel Mohr
Political and economic affairs

+49-30-2-80 02-100

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