Digital technologies are penetrating increasingly broader sections of our working and living environments - at breakneck speed. They are enabling new business models and are changing business processes and workflows to an ever-increasing extent. The revolutions anticipated in manufacturing industry as a result of digitalization are often referred to as the "Fourth industrial revolution" or Industry 4.0".
Industry in Baden-Württemberg has a pronounced strength in the machinery and plant construction sector as well as in the production of high-quality products, and is challenged on two fronts by the anticipated upheaval. For our competitiveness in the future, it is therefore of paramount importance to become early adopters of the megatrends known as "Industry 4.0", thus taking an active part in shaping the imminent transition.
Cyber-physical Systems (CPS) play a key role here. With them and in them, the physical world of machines and systems fuses into the digital world. CPS are able to provide information and communicate with each other over the Internet. This is expanding the Internet for humans to include the Internet for things. This, in turn, is opening up an array of new possibilities - ranging from improved production processes to completely new business models. Hahn-Schickard is therefore systematically developing its sensor solutions into embedded systems and CPS. In turn, these can be integrated with production systems and manufactured products themselves, thereby also transforming them into CPS. Of particular importance here are robust and secure data communication and efficient development of CPS themselves. Our "4S" approach (Smart Sensors Systems Solutions) is enabling us to design new CPS in a structured manner, and also to implement them professionally with our hardware and firmware toolbox. Gateways as connection elements between a number of often very heterogeneous CPS, the PLC controller, the Manufacturing Execution System (MES), or the Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP) play a central role for CPS communication. By understanding the dominant data protocols and deploying new information technologies, we are able to implement this networking functionally.
The integration of CPS in machines and systems requires in addition flexible, attractively priced and reliable integrated circuit packaging which also permits retrofitting of CPS into existing systems. Available in particular here besides classic techniques (such as PCB and injection molding) are methods for CPS miniaturization: 3D-MID, printing techniques and film-based systems. We are continuing to deploy 3D printing systems to provide tailored and optimized systems for Industry 4.0 depending on requirements.