Industry 4.0 – can we get from a big buzzword and play for the big ones to a big market?

Panel: 2. Sustainable production towards a circular economy

Thomas Boermans, E.ON, Germany
Carl Underhill, EON, United Kingdom


Industry 4.0 is a big buzzword and a promise. But what is behind, currently and in the future? How can it boost efficiency and zero carbon performance? And how can we get it from a play for the big ones (only?) to a truly big market?

When we looked at the four principles of Industry 4.0 – interoperability, information transparency, technical assistance and decentralized decisions – we asked customers if they truly thought they needed all of these areas to be covered. Most of the mid-market/SME customers do not have large budgets to spend on the transition to a full Industry 4.0 world today, but they still want to participate in the digital world and benefit from both, operational excellence and improved environmental performance. What if they could benefit from e.g. 80% of the functionality of the digitisation of their manufacturing processes but at only 20% of the cost? And this market and its impact on the EUs energy use and carbon emissions is truly big, with SMEs representing 99% of European businesses.

In the extended abstract and presentation we will share E.ON's current view and beliefs on this topic and describe research we are doing with industry and scientific partners and projects we do with our clients.


Download this presentation as pdf: 2-131-18_Boermans_pres.pdf