Networked production processes and digital factories provide an important key to securing Germany’s competitiveness and innovative strength as a business centre. This is the subject of the lighthouse project IC4F – Industrial Communication for Factories – in which STILL has been significantly involved for almost three and a half years. The Hamburg-based intralogistics provider also hosted the final event, at which the results achieved with the project partners were presented on October 22nd.
For years, everyone has been talking about the future project Industry 4.0. However, essential tools for putting the new industry standard into practice are still lacking. The PAiCE support programme (Platforms, Additive Manufacturing, Imaging, Communication, Engineering) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology is intended to remedy this situation. An associated lighthouse project is IC4F (Industrial Communications for Factories), in which the Hamburg intralogistics company STILL is playing a major role
“The 15 project partners from industry and research – including Robert Bosch GmbH, Siemens, Deutsche Telekom AG and Nokia – have spent the past three and a half years developing a technology kit for a trustworthy industrial communication and computing infrastructure,” explains Ansgar Bergmann, project manager at the Technology & Innovation department, who is responsible for STILL’s share of the project. This technology kit is based on an open architecture and allows modular extensions for new applications and communication technologies. Bergmann: “The results of our research will enable users to select suitable information and communication technologies according to industry 4.0 requirements and a specific migration approach”. These secure, robust and real-time communication solutions for the manufacturing industry will use key technologies from the areas of 5G, multi-access edge computing (MEC), cloud computing, virtualisation, industrial monitoring and analytics.
Ansgar Bergmann is particularly proud of the fact that STILL not only “simply took part” in this project, but was able to contribute their expertise to the fullest extent and decisively influence the development. “We have put our wealth of experience, which we have in the areas of industrial networking and Industry 4.0, to good use. In doing so, we benefited from the fact that we have already helped to develop several industry guidelines on behalf of the Federal Government and the VDMA in the past.” At the same time the Hamburg intralogistics company was also able to benefit from participating in the IC4F project. Bergmann: “First of all we proved to ourselves that we know how to successfully network processes in the warehouse and that our approaches work. In addition, we were able to gain many new insights, which we will now use in the cooperation with our customers to the benefit of both sides”.
STILL invited project partners and internal stakeholders to the company headquarters on the Elbe. There, Nokia set up a mobile radio campus network, which was specially required for the project implementation and which will also serve as a pioneer for new communication technologies such as 5G. In several live demonstrations the equally important and groundbreaking results of the project work were then presented.