“The potential is huge”

Is the future really going to be dominated by Industry 4.0? How are new technologies changing the relationship between humans and machines? An interview with Herbert Jenik, Corporate Innovation.


Industry 4.0 refers to the merging of industrial production with digital technology. What makes this so appealing to OSRAM?

Jenik: The potential of Industry 4.0 for a company like OSRAM is huge. We can use it to significantly increase our productivity, make production processes more efficient and use resources more intelligently. From the assignment of personnel or the servicing and maintenance of machinery to the management of production processes, we benefit in all of these areas from intelligently connected systems as well as from data, which is available at any time. That’s why we are pushing ahead with this trend in various projects. If we want to stay competitive, there is no way around Industry 4.0.


Hillsboro, Berlin, Herbrechtingen: Industry 4.0 methods are already in use at several locations. What exactly do they entail?

Jenik: We are collecting an increasing amount of data relevant to production, also from the existing equipment. By connecting the individual systems, we have access to this information in real time. With the help of a production management system, we can manage production processes more precisely and design them with greater transparency. This is not the only instance of Industry 4.0 at OSRAM, however. Consider the use of collaborative robots in Hillsboro, for example. These robots work together with employees at one workstation at the same time. Then there is the use of predictive maintenance methods in Herbrechtingen, or the innovative ticket manager used in the modular manufacturing of xenon automotive lamps in Berlin.


What is a ticket manager?

Jenik: The goal is for our employees to work in the most optimized way possible. To help, each employee receives a mobile device, similar to a smartphone. The ticket manager assigns tasks directly to the responsible employee. If there is an error with a machine, the technician in charge is automatically informed. If the technician is unable to fix the problem, then he or she checks which specialists are currently available and can send out a request for them using the system. The ticket manager makes it possible to track all incidents, such as malfunctioning machines and unusual process values. In the end, the aim is to always ensure that the right employee is exactly where he or she is needed, making the overall process smoother and more efficient.

Overall, we can say that the plants are very pleased with the first results of our activities in Industry 4.0.