Germany can and must actively accept and cope with these challenges if it wishes to strengthen its role as market leader and manufacturer of so-called INDUSTRIE 4.0 solutions in order to maintain its global competitiveness. Hessen will play an important role in this.
Technological leadership and vision in the areas of production, automation and software-based embedded systems as well as a historically strong industrial network lay the foundation for the long-term success of projects within the INDUSTRIE 4.0 sector. Hessen has a good chance of becoming the leading supplier and user of INDUSTRIE 4.0 solutions. Production accounts for a quarter of the GDP here, which is well above the international average. Hessen has the right prerequisites for the successful implementation of Industrie 4.0, because the sectors concerned here exhibit strong growth: the automobile industry and its supplier industries, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, the electrical industry, the information and communications technology, mechanical and plant engineering, biotechnology, logistics and mobility, aerospace and environmental technologies. In the Mittelhessen area, some key sectors are well represented, such as the optical industry and medical technology – either as users or as providers of relevant Industrie 4.0 technologies.
The world's most powerful internet exchange, DE-CIX, is based in Hessen. Hessen is therefore also the center of German and European data traffic and boasts digital infrastructure at the highest international level. As an excellent location for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Hessen offers INDUSTRIE 4.0 excellent prospects for the future. The wide range of future-oriented, medium-sized companies, leading global manufacturers, highly specialized engineering firms and above-average excellence in research and development places Hessen at the center of this fourth industrial revolution. Companies can gain first-hand experience at TU Darmstadt’s Effiziente Fabrik 4.0 (Efficient Factory 4.0) in a real production environment. Here the entire value stream is demonstrated using applied IT systems, allowing companies to learn which steps have to be taken towards achieving more resource-efficient production with the help of the vision called Industrie 4.0.
Industrie 4.0 will be gradually phased in over a span of ten to fifteen years. In the next two to three years, according to experts, an increasing number of companies will set up small-scale plants as prototypes where people will work according to the principles of the factory of the future, that is, the digital network. In Hessen there is already a large number of companies that have, through the means of different digital implementation methods and in various degrees of intensity, established their own competitiveness. The variety of different implementation concepts is as great as the individuality of these companies.
Due to its strong economic position, Hessen has the chance to become a decisive player in the implementation of the vision of Industrie 4.0. Hessen is not only the center of Industrie 4.0 but also the core of Germany and Europe. Hessen is the gateway for companies and investors to enter into Europe as the world's largest market. From here, every economic metropolis throughout Europe is reachable within a maximum of 2.5 hours.