Data will also play an increasingly important role in intralogistics. Big data lives up to its name, given the vast amounts generated by sensors integrated into machines and systems, by process information and drawn from innumerable other sources. Yet, this is precisely the problem. “The key lies in finding and monitoring the useful data within this flood of information. Which data is important and which do I need?”, says Sven Göhring, Technical Director at KNV Logistik GmbH. “For example, this is essential for predictive maintenance.”
The objective is to make effective use of big data. The hierarchal structure of traditional manufacturing needs to be replaced by vertical and horizontal data integration spanning all of the processes involved in the production chain. This means that the data is no longer used by the production alone. Instead, other areas of the company make use of this information. Providing all of the key data in real time is a defining aspect of Industry 4.0. Every area of the company draws on the same sources.
Yet this requires that all of the systems within a company can communicate properly with each other. “Currently, systems are still frequently unable to talk to each other”, emphasizes Schmit. “This is why open interfaces are so essential. Without continuous and comprehensive communication among machines and humans, intralogistics will be unable to benefit from the fourth industrial revolution.”