Busy working days in industrial companies hardly give a chance to innovative employees to properly understand all the different Industry 4.0 concepts in order to develop a step-by-step, company-dependent integration (or a roadmap for this).

The definition of the applicable concepts of Industry 4.0 to an individual company requires that the basic concepts of Industry 4.0 must first be understood and transferred to the respective industry. Here, Consulting in the area of Industry 4.0 can start with interdisciplinary knowledge.

In the following, the most important “enablers” (or even Industry 4.0 components), already selected with regard to their applicability in the metals and processing industry, are summarized:



The qoncept approach always considers jointly the two areas of software implementation and the integration of Industry 4.0 components. This holistic approach is essential for future-oriented solutions, as the components of Industry 4.0 components can not be put into practice without innovative software systems. The development of a Industry 4.0 roadmap will be carried out by systematically answering the following questions:

  • #1 What is happening?

  • Providing visibility / transparency by determination and recording of all relevant data.
  • #2 Why is something happening?

  • Establishing understanding by analyzing the different processes based on the recorded data.
  • #3 What will happen?

  • Enabling predictive abilities by generating information and suggestions for activities to be performed (e.g. alarms, warnings).
  • #4 How to react autonomously?

  • Assembling of intelligent self-optimizing systems which take over the entire process control.

These questions are part of the following services:

  • Presentation of Industry 4.0 possibilities
  • Determination and assessment of the degree of digitalization
  • Cross-System review of business processes
  • Choice of the right products
  • Preparation a roadmap for a stepwise implementation




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The IIoT vs. MES Discussion

The basis for a cyber-physical systems (or more generally speaking: data collection, data aggregation, data visualization, alerts and notifications, enterprise system integration, forms, dashboards and data analytics) requires a platform or an intelligent industrial assistance systems with direct access to all production facilities. With the help of these assistance systems, it is possible to manage a controllable process complexity without sacrificing process performance and robustness. In this context, Industry 4.0 demands the Industry Internet of Things (IIoT) or the so-called Cyber Physical Production Systems (CPPS). These CPPS are the foundation of the Smart Factory, allowing a new level of self-organization and process optimization through the network of machines resulting in a decentralized production control. This control should no longer take place via Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) but rather through the CPPS, which are able to make decisions locally.
There are also contrary opinions which state that MES continue to be an integral part of Industry 4.0. This approach plays a key role, especially in a stepwise or continuous integration and digitization:

“The step from the classic automation pyramid to locally acting and controlling modules without a hierarchy is much too big. Without MES, a continuity of IT is not yet possible. For networking the systems along the automation pyramid, MES serve as central platform.”


Already in 2013, the ZVEI (Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie eV) recognized that there are currently two worlds in production enterprises: the upper part of the automation pyramid, the Enterprise Network (Office Floor), and the lower part, the Real Time Network (Shop Floor). Office Floor stands for the entire networking of business process systems and applications in product development, order processing, logistics and finance. The Shop Floor describes all systems in production: machines, control systems, sensors and actuators.


An essential difference between the two levels is the necessary real-time control on the shop floor, in contrast to the interaction on the office floor, where in most cases no real-time interaction is necessary or not yet technically realized. In particular, complex calculations such as material disposition are carried out with a time delay in batch mode. For networking the two levels, the MES can be considered as a central building block.
In this context, the promotors of the MES mention an important point that is often overlooked or misunderstood:

“In order to achieve digitization, not all new Industry 4.0 technologies need to be implemented. Already an intelligent implementation of manufacturing execution systems enables digitization.”


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Digital Enablers: Industry 4.0 super-powers

Industry 4.0 – The Capgemini Consulting View

Seize the Opportunity of Industry 4.0

Five lessons about Industry 4.0

Why ERP needs MES and vice versa

IIoT Has a ‘Thing’ for MES

Is Digitalization Different From MES?

Role of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Industry 4.0

Artificial Intelligence – The Driving Force of Industry 4.0

Advanced Analytics in Theorie und Praxis.