Industry 4.0: Future Trend Scenarios through to 2034 – Businesses must keep an eye on the possible consequences of Industry 4.0

Transformation of the automation pyramid?
In the opinion of ROI, manufacturing execution systems (MES) will continue to play a central role in production control over the next five years. They will, however, need to meet additional requirements such as the provision of data for new business models and the online exchange of information with other operational systems. ROI sees two different scenarios for the long-term development of MES:

Scenario 1 (period 5 – 20 years):
One possible scenario, assuming that the implementation of Industry 4.0 proves complicated, is that MES retains an important planning and control role, and the familiar structure of the automation pyramid remains. The consequence of this will be to increase horizontal and vertical integration as part of conventional development. It is conceivable in this situation that the standards for communication between the machine and MES layers are strengthened over the long term.

Scenario 2 (period 5 – 20 years):
Assuming comprehensive growth for Industry 4.0, a second scenario is imaginable in which MES no longer has any major significance in the long term. The consequence will be a change in the familiar automation pyramid. Only two layers of the original four remain: ERP and the machine layers. In this model, both layers are integrated into a comprehensive networking infrastructure. A new -intermediate- level develops and serves, for example, as a data repository from which CPS and smart products receive their information.

„Research findings show that the path towards the complete implementation of Industry 4.0 is far from linear and clearly mapped out,“ explains ROI Management Board member Hans-Georg Scheibe. „The next few years will be characterized by fundamentally different scenarios as well as by solutions and degrees of implementation that are distinctly different in terms of sector and business model. This is the reason why businesses on the one hand need a strategic vision for the introduction of Industry 4.0. On the other hand, they need to retain a high degree of flexibility in order to be able to benefit from technological developments and to quickly adapt their roadmaps.“

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