Industry 4.0Feedback to Industry 4.0 > Automation and Industry 4.0 in machinery industry 2015

To the SPS IPC Drives fair in Nuremberg in November 2015

Feedback of machine-builders on automation and Industry 4.0

The Quest Trend Magazine asked decision-makers in automation technology in the German machinery industry for their feedback to automation solutions providing benefits for their applications. And what they could pick regarding Industry 4.0 up from the fair.

Hartmut Davidson, Head of Drive Technology, Corporate Research and Development at Krones AG, Neutraubling

„For my area of responsibility the fair is ideal because it covers to 90% drive technology.

Foto von Hartmut Davidson, Krones AG.
Hartmut Davidson

This time I used our great many and good contacts for two priorities: Servo drive technology and long stator motor.

Regarding servo technique I’m interesting in new motors, higher power density, torque motors, high-dynamic drives and the highest efficiency classes - in short the entire range. At Krones the servo drive has been advancing already since longer substituting non-servo drives.

The long stator motor, e.g. the XTS system from Beckhoff, was of great interest for me because it enables an absolutely universal handling and substitutes other time-consuming mechanical constructions. So we already have lots of ideas for application.

Industry 4.0 is a high level IT-topic at Krones. For me regarding drive technology it means to get information from the motors about revolution speed, temperatures, life cycle and others. So the motor is becoming a supplier of data set. To achieve this goal innovative transducers with appropriate interfaces are needed.“

Fritz Klenk, Director Electrical Engineering and Robotics at FIBRO LÄPPLE TECHOLOGY GmbH, Hassmersheim

Foto von Fritz Klenk, Fibro-Läpple.
Fritz Klenk

„I found a sensor on the fair I didn’t know yet. It is a special difference sensor with a new optic and angular measurement.

This sensor will enable to reduce the cycle times of the robot withdrawing or assembling components in racks concerning e.g. engine hoods or withdrawals of doors at the automobile customer or we ourselves may also save equipment for our own systems.

Industry 4.0 is on everyone’s lips. Siemens presented a figure on its booth that mechanics will be replaced more and more by software. However, we have been already using Industry 4.0 for many years, for us it is anything new.

So 15 years ago e.g. we already implemented a collaborating robot conducted by sensors. Also for the production of trucks we realized the manufacturing of the driving cab at MAN in Steyr as lot size one.“

Andreas Kist, R&D Manager Automation, BREYER GmbH Maschinenfabrik, Singen

Foto Andreas Kist, Breyer Maschinenfabrik
Andreas Kist

„The components we found on the PLC fair in Nuremberg this year, direct to a large extent to fine-tuning our systems.

Regarding sensor engineering there were e.g. new contactless flow measurements for liquids. These enable for the first time within payable limits to strike a new path. Beside a more compact structure the benefits are to be mainly seen in higher plant availability and in reduction of maintenance.

A large topic for us was compactly building energy-saving mechatronic drive systems for a wide range of application in our machines. Here the market is being busy providing new solutions of machine construction and optimization of power in the future.

Besides we looked around regarding air conditioning of switchgear cabinet finding some innovative solutions. Proper selected components may save a lot of money with high power losses in the switchgear cabinet.


Manufacturers and machine-builders are likewise struggling for convincingly presenting the topic Industry 4.0. Some companies interpret Industry 4.0 for their in-house purposes and others for processes at the customer. I think there is no proper access yet to this complex topic is. So far deployment of all kinds of data was in the center of interest, and now you have the data, however, not really knowing what to do with them.

So Industry 4.0 is current a nice term and certainly also the most important future trend, however, below the line this technology must be also payable because a machine has to operate profitably.”

Manfred Bauch, Senior Manager Automation Electrical Systems at Grenzebach GmbH, Asbach Bäumenheim

Foto Manfred Bauch, Grenzebach GmbH
Manfred Bauch

„The fair in Nuremberg is very near to our location, so its intensive use for our crew is almost compulsory.

Mainly I use the fair for meeting various departments of our suppliers, i.e. key account, developer and other technicians to discuss solutions of problems and future projects. To look for innovations my time is usually not sufficient.

Industry 4.0 could be shortly chosen to the non-word of the year because almost each cable, each connector was advertised as Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 is to make production flexible and effective. These are exactly the arguments 30 to 35 years ago as the free-programmable control system came on the market. So this is old wine in new skins.

Of course, we are dealing with this topic ensuring to extensively collect data from our plants.

The challenge of Industry 4.0 is the analysis of the data by software for production optimization. Today the required know-how is often only owned by a few people.

An example from practice: Visiting a plant I see that sheets are thrown away they do not fulfill the quality. The responsible person is standing totally relaxed beside. He explains that the ventilation was just cleaned and for that reason the required quality cannot be reached for the next ½ hour. So the purpose is to get this additional data/information in order to properly consider them by the analysis later.“

Bernd Plies, Head of Electrical and Automation Technology, WINKLER and DÜNNEBIER Süßwarenmaschinen GmbH, Rengsdorf

Foto Bernd Plies, Winkler und Dünnebier GmbH
Bernd Plies

„The fair is important for me to see new products and trends; I also intensively use the fair for relationship management.

Especially to the topic Sercos III I found indeed new interfaces and I/O modules that will help us.

On the other hand I was only little interested in Industry 4.0 as meanwhile the term is used for almost all trends.

Today we already supply Industry 4.0 suited machines when higher data spreading and open interfaces for overall data connections are concerned. In this context the individualizing of products is playing an increasingly larger role for us, although we do not want to speak yet of ‚lot size 1`. So requests are already emerging toward smaller and fast changing loads. For those purposes we must be prepared with our machines and control systems.“

Peter Weil, Electrical Construction & Development, Weber Maschinenbau GmbH, Breidenbach

Foto Peter Weil Weber Maschinenbau GmbH.
Peter Weil

„On the fair I mainly looked for hardware components, Industry 4.0 was not my topic.

Regarding frequency converters I found a new model, a converter, we will test this year. It is a new FC from Lenze’s standard model range, very compact with I/O and CANbus.

With this model we can run small machine modules. That was a highlight for us because our space in the switchgear cabinet is very limited and more space would be expensive. Also for the customer it is of advantage using machines more compactly built.“

Werner Faulhaber, Head of R&D Electrical Engineering, ARBURG GmbH + CO. KG, Loßburg

“For me the SPS/IPC/DRIVES fair is the most important trade fair for drive technology, control systems as well as electrical automation technology in Germany.

Foto Werner Faulhaber, Arburg GmbH + Co. KG.
Werner Faulhaber

Meanwhile this fair has been growing into such dimension that it has become necessary to visit it with an entire team looking for new solutions. We spotted many innovations in areas such as drive technology, sensor system, bus systems, connection technology and up to Safety.

Beyond that I took part in the panel discussion of the VDMA about the topic „Engineering Defaults for the Machinery Industry on the Way to Industry 4.0“. Here it showed up that Industry 4.0 is not only a theoretical topic, in fact, it is being “lived”.

The standardization of the engineering data between mechanics, electro-technology and software was discussed. The VDMA standard form 66415 “Engineering - Universal Data Format” has the target to achieve the exchange of the necessary user application engineering data between the subsections mechanic electrical connection software in the machinery industry. The format is to be unified useable, both by the experienced practitioner on the building site and the professional technical designer with his software tools, also containing structural describing defaults such as AutomationML and consensual semantics such as eCl@ss.

ARBURG was exhibitor on the booth of the VARAN BUS user organization presenting there the freeformer, its industrial system for the additives manufacturing. The freeformer enables the manufacture of functional devices through qualified default plastic granulates without tools, based on CAD data. Beyond that it offers the possibility of individualizing mass production parts in lot size one: by combining injection molding with additive manufacturing and Industry 4.0 technologies.”

Olive Vollmar, Technical Designer and Standardization at Strama-MPS Maschinenbau GmbH & Co.KG, Straubing

„I was looking for innovations on the fair for two days.

At Bosch I discovered large converters within the MW range that can be purchased together with the motors from a single source. The converters offer large dynamics and are structured in a very modular manner. It was not familiar to us that Bosch offers drive systems in the MW range. That provides the benefit for us to get converter and motor from a single source.

At Siemens I discovered a mobile panel that is certified for the emergency stop. If emergency stop is active the lighting will turn red, if red does not light up, the emergency stop is not active and is no longer perceived as emergency stop by the user. So this function is only recognizable if the panel can work as emergency stop.

Wenglor has expanded its sensor program toward IO-Link offering a wide range of sensors with IO-Link. Since IO-Link is independent regarding the superordinate control system, be it a Beckhoff or another control system, I receive much information that I would not get in such a way via the usual dialog with the sensor. So the sensors are becoming more intelligent.

Foto from the fair 2015.
Visitors informing about Industry 4.0

Regarding Industry 4.0 it was from my point of view somewhat controversial. Each second exhibitor advertised with Industry 4.0, however, his understanding remained mostly unclear; as soon as two signals are recorded, the related product is advertised with Industry 4.0.

For me the measure is the intelligence of the sensors. Their outputs are not limited to analog values but there are also signals to the status; how is the system part doing, is the sensor polluted, is it getting broken soon? These innovations with IO-Link we would like to use in the future. For this purpose we will build up an experimental setup in the next half year.“

Konrad Butty, Research & Development Manager at Reifenhäuser Blown Film GmbH, Worms

Foto Reiffenhäuser, Evolution
© Reiffenhäuser, Evolution Plant

„On the fair I was expecting the trend to components becoming smaller similar to the mobile phone. This should concern e.g. the PLC, the protective relay for motor or the semiconductors because small is better for the switchgear cabinet in order to save space. However, sizes are the same as five years ago.

Also regarding Industry 4.0 we would like to realize various projects but the components do not match the requirements yet.

For instance we would like to see e.g. that the gear motor sends a message such as oil is dirty and has to be exchanged. In fact, only monitoring is in the focus but not yet the feedback from those components we are using as machine-builders. But the components’ feedback is what we take as Industry 4.0.“

Business Unit Manager Electrics packaging machines

“We spotted interesting new drive technology concepts and drive solutions such as the XTS system from Beckhoff. This has according to my opinion the potential to revolutionize the machinery industry regarding complexity reduction and flexibility in the same manner as the introduction of the servo technique 20 years ago.

Dominating topic was, of course, Industry 4.0 in the most divergent facets. We were very impressed by connection concepts for the Cloud, new visualization concepts and tools for archiving of the control data.

The innovations in the area of the intelligent and standardized installation engineering were also interesting.”

Reiner Zentgraf, Development Control System Software at ROVEMA GmbH, Fernwald

Rovema Schlauchbeutelverpackungsmaschine
© Rovema, BVR 230

„We visit the fair with clear targets, talking to our suppliers and many manufacturers, whose components are used in our machines.

We have our own PC-based control with HMI, Software PLC and Motion Control. My emphasis in the development department is the electronic drive technology.

A topic for the fair was to use smaller servo-drives in the near future. That will make our machines more flexible, lower costs, the switchgear cabinets will become smaller leading to energy saving. We were also looking for robots and handling systems regarding information about possible kinematics and detection systems such as cameras.

The topic Industry 4.0 belonged only marginally to my targets. Nevertheless it was inevitable to meet this topic everywhere.“

Director Electrical Engineering, food processing machines

“I attended the fair on November 24th for the reason to find manufacturers for panel PC solutions. As we are busy in the food area, the front of the devices has to be made by high-grade steel. I could get in touch with some interesting and promising contacts and will now investigate in more detail the products of 5 manufacturers.

For me not all of these manufacturers were well-known before the fair visit. I had planned my visit by means of the list of exhibitors. I think the fair has become too largely and too complex with long ways and halls in honeycomb form making orientation difficult.

Industry 4.0. For this topic I did not gather information as trade magazines as well as „normal daily papers “are filled with more or less well-grounded information. And if only policy is committed in such a topic the wait and see approach will often be the more effective one. (See CIM at the end of the eighties, photovoltaics subsidies, biodiesels…)”

Manager of a large special purpose machine-builder for the food industry

„I did not find any innovations on the fair because I was already informed in advance about new solutions by the manufacturers.

The great benefit of the fair is that I can talk together with the technician and the manager of our suppliers. A meeting together with both departments succeeds only on the fair. For time reasons it is usually quite rare to meet both together; on the fair just a quarter of an hour will already be enough.

Regarding Industry 4.0 I did not look anything up because it is still no topic for our customers, neither this year nor next or year after the next.“

Christian Enderer, Electrical Development, ILLIG Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG, Heilbronn

„We found an interesting electrical hybrid switch for ohmic load at the company Wöhner, which we will check for possible use. It provides space saving in the switchgear cabinet and a reduction of power loss.

Regarding Industry 4.0 I was referred to an IO-Link networking by a sensor system manufacturer, whereby IO-Link is already longer on the market than Industry 4.0. This interesting technique will become sooner or later the default.“

Andreas Schmid, Manager Electrical Design/Software, Gebrüder Leonhardt GmbH & Co. KG Blema Kircheis, Mössingen

“The SPS/DRIVES fair is as the leading fair for my area an important meeting point each year.

Foto Gamma II Modular Can Maker BLEMA von Gebrüder Leonhardt.
© Gebr. Leonhardt, Gamma II Modular Can Maker Blema

This year an emphasis was the direct search for drive solutions for format adjustment. Important for us was the price and the simple integration into the existing hard and software environment. The connection with Profibus is still a further obligation criterion, whereby Profibus will be replaced in the medium term by ProfiNet.

I also discovered some interesting products, one of them will certainly be implemented at the beginning or the middle of next year.

My second emphasis was human relations as organizational modifications in my area had required thorough explanation. Even for such concerns the SPS/DRIVES is the ideal place as almost all of our suppliers are exhibitors.”

Jürgen Kreissl, Head of Electrical Design and Assembly, WITTMANN ROBOT SYSTEMS GmbH, Nuremberg

„We were not really committed in looking for any specialties, however, we found simulation software from Heitec. It is able to simulate workflows of complex plants in each development stage so that errors can be promptly detected before hardware will be produced. We are checking its use.

Industry 4.0 is a difficult, complex topic. Everyone decorates itself with this term without knowing properly its underlying. So far it is recognizable that manufacturers are mainly internally interlacing their products. It will still take some time until there will be a real standardized data exchange. For this purpose the interfaces and the software protocols have to be still determined.“

Head of Electrical Design of a packaging machine manufacturer

„I had two or three conversations about my preferred solution „quick coupling for sensor systems“, however, a solution did not become apparent.

Nowadays sensors are coupled with default plug connectors. They are screwable but it will take relatively much time until to solve and contact them again. My desire would be that they should provide a plug-in type with bayonet or click solution, so that one would have to press and over press ensuring also the necessary protection against unintentional loosening of the connections.

I was not busy for Industry 4.0 as one exhibition day is too short for this topic.“

Head of Electrical Design of a packaging machine manufacturer

„Usually the fair works as a trigger to think of projects next year. Then I try to get in contact with manufacturers so that solutions can be presented after the fair.

This year the topic is Industry 4.0, and in particular Big Data.

In this context I became aware of MICA from Harting, a so-called industrial-suited Raspberry PI. This is a compact device within an industrial housing, provides various interfaces and a computer with a real CPU being able to preprocess data. So for the first time we will be able to record more data passing them over to „the right computer“. For the customer we can provide appropriate interfaces.

We think of data for e.g. constantly monitoring the FC for maintenance information. The device can also record and store more process data that are analyzed by the process control system being passed on to the ERP. I was really impressed by the possibilities offered.“

Martin Müller, Head of Technical Integration at psb intralogistics GmbH, Pirmasens

„Even for technologically less complex questions the SPS/IPC Drives fair in Nuremberg may provide answers.

So we could find special thermal isolated switchgear cabinets suitable for the expansion of our product lines as part of the cold treatment area with various suppliers. Now we will check some quotations.

Apart from the fact that Industry 4.0 is being a hot slogan we could not take much along with us. Regarding cross-vendor regulations for e.g. communication protocols and information contents there has to technically develop a lot more. Everything with color and connector cable advertised as Industry 4.0 component. You could not take everything seriously.

On the other hand our customers in the intralogistics area are quite interested in the topic. As logistics suppliers we naturally face this future representing the topic customer-oriented in context with our product portfolio.”

Jörg Winter, Development Folding Machines, Heidelberg Postpress Germany GmbH, Ludwigsburg

“New topics could be looked at, like e.g. the leakage current compensation Leakcomp for FI-protective switches from Epa, however, they will not be used.

Falzmaschine Stahlfolder BH/CH von Heidelber Postpress.
© Folding machine Stahlolder BH/CH

Familiar topics were intensified, so the new connector HAN modular ECO from Harting that we will use shortly.

Networking of machines is an important topic for us since many years and already widely realized. However, on the fair the keyword Industry 4.0 is used as an advertising keyword, often only because it is modern right now, even if it makes no sense for the presented application. Here it is necessary to select the meaningful topics and applications.”

Markus Decker, Drive Technology Programming at KBA FT Engineering, Frankenthal

„I used the fair for information mainly about drive technology. In general we implement servo drives from Bosch Rexroth but our customers request also drive technology from other suppliers such as SEW or Beckhoff.

I’m particularly interested in how these devices can be parameterized. Concerning the software handling, I am a very content user of Bosch Rexroth. From my point of view Bosch Rexroth offers the best interface from the PLC to the drive.

Beyond that I provided information about camera systems for my colleague on how to measure three-dimensionally. For customers outside of the printing industry, in the automobile industry, special plastic sheets for noise insulation are necessary. It concerns the product measurement regarding height, width and depth.

I did not care for Industry.”

Head of Development Hardware in the sector food processing machines

„This year I did not bring along great new solutions from the fair. Actually it is also for us the most important automation fair, where we meet all the suppliers that  serve our sector.

Primarily we visited our suppliers to get presented all the novelties and to remain in touch with the general development.

For us in the food sector Industry 4.0 is not yet so much the topic although also our customers are beginning to networking their machines. Today we already offer various interfaces to other machines - simple signal interfaces but also network. Standards according to Industry 4.0 may facilitate for us the co-operation with other manufacturers in the future.”