Forty companies of all sizes (SMEs and large groups) took part in these brainstorming workshops.
This was not only to explain and spread the notion of Industry 4.0 in the workplace, but also – and above all – to connect the dots in terms of the development of the wood sector (improvement of prefabrication processes in wood construction, optimisation of internal processes through digitization and material flows and stocks, etc.) to existing Industry 4.0 services and techniques in Luxembourg and the Greater Region.
After a presentation of Industry 4.0’s “Philosophy” at company level by Philippe Osch (CTO, Hitec) and Guy Kerger (CEO, Mindforest), real life cases of developments in industry and SMEs were presented.
Bruno Marniquet (Ampacet) also addressed the question “Where to start with digitisation in logistics?”; Thierry Van Ravestyn (Up-trace), for his part, focused on the theme “Traceability and Industry 4.0 also in the wood sector”, while Carlo Posing (RMS.lu) evoked the subject “IOT and the wireless connected and battery free home “.
Training first and foremost
“An Industry 4.0 project is a company project and not a project of one person,” said Guy Kerger. For companies present, , digitisation is precisely a key issue for three areas in particular, highlighted by a survey conducted “live” during the afternoon discussions.
89% of respondents see this digital transformation as an opportunity to optimise their processes and their productivity; 84% see an optimisation of planning and forecasting and 74% an improvement in quality. The purely “technical” aspect is therefore far from being predominant.
To achieve this, a major challenge needs to be met: the training of employees to better understand the impact of transformation (79% of survey responses). The development of a solid business strategy (53%), the digitisation of administrative processes (42%) or production processes (37%) are lagging behind.
The implementation of Industry 4.0 is definitely not just a technical implementation of solutions, but it must be accompanied by an acceptance and understanding by all employees in the company, which can only be accomplished through adequate training.
Collaborations at all levels
The present members were, of course, convinced of the importance and the impact of this digitisation and were already engaged in such a process of transformation within their companies. “But a lot of very small companies can’t yet move in this direction, for lack of time and information and/or resources,” says Caroline Muller, manager of the Luxembourg Materials & Manufacturing Cluster. “This is where we as Clusters can play a support and information sharing role, going out into the field to see these small businesses, with the goal of achieving a digital transformation affecting the entire value chain.”
The role of Luxinnovation, through its Clusters, is also to serve as a relay and exchange platform so that more advanced companies can share best practices with less advanced companies. “This is where the cross-sectoral aspect is of major importance,” says Philippe Genot, manager of the Luxembourg Wood Cluster. Industry 4.0 plays a key role in the development of the wood industry and, clearly, the experience of the companies in the Materials and ICT Clusters can help wood industry companies in their digitization efforts.”
The mission of Luxinnovation and the Clusters is obviously not limited to possible interactions between just the timber industry and other sectors. The success of the implementation of Industry 4.0 at any level, is also, of course, through a pooling of knowledge and experience sharing on a wide a basis as possible.