German mechanical engineering provides intelligent and connected production systems that are at the core of Industrie 4.0. During their lifetime, these systems generate valuable and often highly-sensitive industrial data. Data exchange enables new business models and promises greater productivity and efficiency.
The mechanical engineering industry is developing new solutions for Industrie 4.0, which will help Europe to grow as an industrial location. For this to happen, however, politicians will have to focus more on the industrial policy aspects of digitalisation. Also the EU Commission‘s strategy for the digital single market needs to consider the industrial dimension in a better way. After all, the success of Industrie 4.0 and its contribution to wealth and employment in the EU depends on the right framework conditions for companies in the European market.
Plagiarism is a huge threat to the innovative strength and competitiveness of German mechanical engineering. Investments in research and development only pay off for companies if product piracy can be prevented. The federal government and the European Union need to support companies in the fight against counterfeits more effectively than they are currently doing.
The mechanical engineering industry is supporting the European energy and climate goals with its innovative products. The European Commission is currently examining a key instrument in environmental policy: the Ecodesign Directive. This ensures that products are not only functional and safe, but also environmentally friendly. The continuing economic effi ciency of products is the key aspect of environmental protection.
When production comes to a standstill, money is lost. But when critical IT infrastructure such as in hospitals or at energy providers fails, people‘s lives are at risk. The role of industrial security is to protect information technology in production systems, machines and plants against sabotage, espionage and manipulation. Awareness of this topic is rightly growing – after all, Industry 4.0 is making industrial security an even more explosive issue for Germany as an industrial location.
German mechanical engineering equips the factories of the world – many companies are world market leaders in their fi eld. It has recently become clear that countries like China, Russia and Brazil are moving towards generating competitive advantages for their domestic industries by taking measures to restrict access to their markets. A worldwide race to cut trade must be avoided. Free trade promotes the international division of labor, which benefits everyone involved.