Process 4.0 – Into the Digital Future

Systems in the processing industry are often operated for decades, which means constant rebuilding, expansion and modernization. Aspirations to make processes more efficient are as old as the processing industry itself. The digital transformation of the economy creates new possibilities for more advantageous configurations in processing through numerous innovative approaches and technologies. A consensus has been reached that machines must communicate with each other in order to function with maximum efficiency. The Internet of Things is the new reality – even if it continues to be interpreted and implemented in different ways. Data is provided, collected, evaluated and used at different levels. Yet how do companies in the processing industry actually profit from big data?

This is how you profit from the digital process industry:

  • Standards for Higher Efficiency
  • Adaptable Production through Modularity
  • Increase Availability, Minimize Idle Times
  • Independent and Flexible Thanks to the Cloud
  • Process Optimization in Real Time Through Location-Independent Access

Process 4.0

The Processing Industry Goes Digital

Learn how companies in the process industry can profit from big data.

Standards for Higher Efficiency

  • Increased efficiency and cost reductions through standardization: This happens in the form of concepts that unify function blocks, interfaces and protocols for automating machines and systems.
  • For example, leading oil companies already rely on established programming standards. Every single step in software engineering is documented with incredible accuracy and codified so the same program modules can be used every time.
  • Uniform interfaces between different systems reduce the failure rate during both the design phase and actual operation, while increasing system availability.

Adaptable Production through Modularity

  • In the context of batch size 1, fluctuating volumes and ever-shifting regional sales markets, companies must have manufacturing processes that are universal, mobile, scalable, modular and compatible.
  • In processing systems for oil and gas extraction, or in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, the primary focus during design is on flexible production. Within these sectors, processes here have to be adapted more quickly than within the oil industry.


Digitization – The Industry of Tomorrow

Cross-communication via cloud or smart automation: While industrial digitization has many facets and presents even more opportunities, cybersecurity is a major challenge.

Increase Availability, Minimize Idle Times

  • Just like modular system engineering, the processing industry can also profit from data acquisition and cloud connectivity. For example, predictive maintenance – the proactive maintenance and servicing of systems and machines – is only possible through data transparency. This is a way to avoid the high costs that a failed production system can incur.
  • Efficiency analytics, such as the evaluation of relevant measured values like output, pressure, temperature, vibrations and throughput, can be used to recognize maintenance requirements early on. This enables the targeted replacement or maintenance of individual modules, without negatively impacting system availability.
  • To accomplish this, the collected machine data is read and evaluated in higher level systems. The system can then be monitored by local analysis tools or via the cloud.

Independent and Flexible Thanks to the Cloud

Despite a degree of skepticism towards complete data transparency, awareness of the advantages cloud applications offer is growing:

  • They are independent of individual servers.
  • Cloud operators guarantee constant availability by storing data on multiple servers.
  • Costs for massive memory volumes and their maintenance is eliminated. The same is true for the costs of establishing server farms, because the principle behind the cloud is that each pays only for what is used.
  • The delivery and use of cloud services are performed exclusively via interfaces, protocols, or browsers via the Internet – there is no need for software installation on local computers.
  • In principle, it is possible to access process-relevant data from anywhere in the world.

Process Optimization in Real Time Through Location-Independent Access

  • Because all relevant data can be accessed regardless of location, processes can be improved in real time and adjustment measures can be easily monitored.
  • In decentralized data storage, for example, data from different machines, entire production lines, or even building and energy data in individual production facilities, are gathered and evaluated in a central cloud service.
  • In the cloud, all processes are controlled and coordinated; access to current and historical data is carried out independent of location. This allows a company's various facilities to compare key data among themselves and introduce necessary optimization measures.
  • The operating states and maintenance needs of machines and systems can be automatically determined through continual monitoring.

WAGO at Work

Process 4.0 is not a trend – Process 4.0 is the future, which WAGO has helped shape and champion from the very beginning. Discover the areas, topics and solutions that are important for today and tomorrow.

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