Areas of action

Industrie 4.0 – areas of action

Highly autonomous and adaptive – these are important features of the intelligent production of tomorrow.

What will the intelligent production of tomorrow look like? Let us show you – we'll also present products that already allow you to make the move toward Industrie 4.0.

Based on our experience in connection and automation technology, we are converting the sometimes abstract advantages of Industrie 4.0 into practical areas of action. The focus is firmly on the advantages of digitalization with respect to quality, flexibility, performance, and cost-effectiveness.

Digitalization improves processes in tool engineering

Digital processes in tool engineering  

Digital boards provide the information needed for upcoming decisions

Digitalization is the basis for Industrie 4.0. Products and processes are first of all created virtually and are fully transparent.

Throughout the entire lifecycle of a product, all process phases are supported by a uniform digital description within the value added system, such as the engineering, installation or production phases. All operating states are known at all times; their visualization simplifies planning, analysis, and operation.

Industrie 4.0 example: benefit from digital data today

Complex injection molding tools are used to manufacture sophisticated plastic parts, which need to be ready in ever shorter time frames due to the increasingly customized nature of the end products.

Data is used consistently to optimize processes. To do so, the digital data is uniquely assigned to the physical product. The result is the cyber physical system, an element of Industrie 4.0. Through this connection to higher-level systems, information, such as costs or material type, is made available on a project-specific basis. Digital boards provide the information needed for upcoming decisions. Augmented reality, i.e., computer-assisted augmentation of reality, also helps to determine the coordinates for the positioning of ejectors for injection molding tools.

For fully automated production in the future, thereby saving time and costs, tools and processes are described digitally throughout.

Secure communication during the production of I/O modules

Production of I/O modules  

At Phoenix Contact, I/O modules are produced in a batch size of one in a fully automated process

Intelligent mechatronic systems communicate across different locations and company-wide using network infrastructures. Only standardized and open interfaces are used for this.

This Ethernet and Internet-based communication networks distributed structures and provides the basis for flexible, self-optimizing production processes. Reliable protection against unauthorized third-party access and electrical faults is a key requirement.

Industrie 4.0 example: secure communication during production

With an ever growing number of variants and smaller batch sizes, Axioline I/O modules must be economical to produce.

As soon as the material is on the workpiece carrier, a connection is established to the higher-level system via an RFID tag. The circulation system, which can be extended as desired, enables the flexible networking of all conceivable production resources to form a single manufacturing system. The workstations, assembly machines, and test cells required for the manufacturing process can be easily connected. This requires uniform interfaces as well as autonomous control of the basic processes. This concept enables the simultaneous production of different variants.

Complex production processes call for intelligent communication structures. The considerable complexity of the system is made manageable for people thanks to the communication between the product and controller.

Automation with maximum efficiency

Individual production of signal conditioners  

Product carriers establish the connection to the production system via an RFID tag

Adaptive behavior strengthens production to handle any kind of disturbance and provides flexibility for maximum efficiency. There is no central controller; instead there is intelligent collaboration. Distributed controllers adapt independently to processes, equipment, and devices.

Complex processes and unexpected events are easier to manage and optimize. This has meant that producing batch sizes of one at the same low cost of mass production has become a reality.

Industrie 4.0 example: economical production of a batch size of one

The MINI Analog signal conditioners are customized in the web configurator, which results in around 1000 different device versions.

The freely parameterizable process cells produce individual signal conditioners according to customer requirements. The system works very efficiently based on the consistent material flow in the process chain and due to very short setup times. The freely parameterizable process cells are automatically docked and undocked. The system integrates these stations autonomously; there is no need for time-consuming installation. Employees connect the modules with power, compressed air, and to the IT network with ease. Production can also be adapted through variant-specific graphical configuration of the process sequence.

Small batch sizes can already be manufactured at the same cost as mass production. The intelligent and autonomous production system is economical over the long term.

Cutting-edge connection technology

Tool-free wiring  

With Push-in connection technology, robots can be wired automatically

The increasing complexity and networking in the industry calls for safe electrical connections as well as clear and durable marking of all components.

Quick and error-free wiring saves time during the installation process for energy and data. For example, Push-in connection technology helps achieve this by making it much quicker to wire distributed devices and control cabinets.

Industrie 4.0 example: Push-in connection technology

Adaptable production concepts must optimize setup work in modular systems.

In the case of new installations or changes to a system, innovative connection technologies and plug-in installation systems reduce costs and assembly times through quick and error-free wiring. To this end, Push-in connection technology was developed for direct conductor connection: solid conductors or conductors with ferrules can be directly contacted without any tools. The special spring profile enables manual or automatic insertion of conductors with ferrules starting from 0.34 mm². The spring is opened by means of the push button – easily and without direct contact with live parts.

The time-saving conductor connection makes wiring quick and easy. Low insertion forces make wiring significantly easier.

Handling complex processes in the production of signal conditioners

Easy operation  

Operators are supported and guided by a wizard and solution scenarios are visualized

Thanks to the learning capability of the system, operation and decision-making is made easier despite the increasing complexity.

Assistance systems present possible courses of action for the user to take in the respective situation.

Industrie 4.0 example: human-machine communication

Complex production processes call for intelligent communication structures, which provide the user with the relevant information when and where it is needed.

The user therefore only sees the data and options that are required in the respective situation. The user's experience of carrying out tasks as well as rectifying faults is also evaluated in order to further improve the way in which the relevant information is provided in future. Rather than make things harder, it will be even easier to operate the application and make decisions.

Operator support and visualized solution scenarios only display the information that is currently required.

Digitalization of building technology

Checking the energy consumption of a system on a tablet  

Active energy management optimizes supply processes

All the necessary data for an intelligent management system is provided, so energy and material usage can be adapted individually and precisely.

Building and manufacturing infrastructure is planned in a forward-looking manner, and is easy to optimize during operation.

Industrie 4.0 example: working efficiently and saving resources

We are currently witnessing a huge change, moving from traditional automation towards the digitalization of building technology.

The IoT-based Ecosystem Emalytics combines building services management with energy management and business intelligence services in a single solution. Smart devices, along with devices, sensors, and actuators from conventional building technology, are directly integrated into the IoT management level based on standardized protocols and interfaces. Regardless of its source, all data is available as an information object in order to optimize building technology processes.

For building and energy management, this results in consistent solutions for efficient operation through to integration of production systems. This increases energy efficiency while reducing operating costs.

GmbH & Co. KG

Flachsmarktstraße 8
32825 Blomberg, Germany
+49 5235 3-00


Industrie 4.0

The intelligent production of tomorrow