Australian manufacturers face “watershed moment” with Industrie 4.0

The task of keeping up with trends in industry is a
daunting one, with Siemens estimating effectively automating a factory at about
2 – 3 per cent of turnover.

The Australian Financial Review visited the German company’s flagship
Industrie 4.0 facility in Arnberg, and was told that now was a “watershed
moment” for manufacturers.

“Who can continue to play and who can not?” Siemens
executive Klaus Helmrich asked The AFR.

The reason staying up-to-date with Industrie 4.0 was
the need for Australian companies to play a role in the supply chains of
multinational companies, who have applied connectivity to processes to all stages
of their products’ lifecycles and expect the same from their suppliers.

According to Siemens’ head of factory automation, Ralf-Michael
Franke, this could cost as much as 2 – 3 per cent of revenue.

Siemens is one of the leading companies among those in
Germany’s Industrie 4.0, which its government initiated in 2011.

Another Australian journalist in Germany as a guest of
the company, described the movement as a “headlong rush to combine three
things: automated factories, machine-to-machine internet and 3D printing”.

It is also the theme of the world’s biggest industrial
expo, Hannover Messe, held this week.

Of 8,000 international exhibitors at the expo, Business Spectator counted only five Australian companies.

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