Cooperation of Germany and Japan on digitalised industry

The Industry 4.0 experts were happy to put up with an eleven-hour flight from Frankfurt to Tokyo – that’s how much there was to discuss with their Japanese colleagues.

In October, Markus Hess (Director of the Industry Unit in BMWi), Prof. Henning Kagermann (Global Representative of the Plattform), Prof. Svenja Falk (Head of the working group on Digital Business Models in the Plattform) and other representatives of the WGs Security of Connected Systems and Digital Business Models in Industry 4.0, as well as the Standardization Council Industry 4.0, travelled to Japan. On the agenda was the Global Symposium on Industry 4.0 of the German Embassy / Connected Industries as part of the technology trade fair Ceatec. Only one day later, the 4th Robot Revolution and Industrial IoT International Symposium 2018 – Industrial IoT Future Images and International Standards Connecting the World took place at the World Robot Summit. Key issues were IT security, digital business models and standardization and the introduction of the use case scenario of Value Based Services. Information, videos and presentations from the symposium can be downloaded from the website of the Japanese Robot Revolution & Industrial IoT Initiative (RRI). The trip ended with a workshop on digital business models conducted by RRI, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the German representatives, Prof. Kagermann, Prof. Falk and Dr. Löwen. It was expressed that the work in this area should be continued.

Already in September, Jörg Hofmann (Chairman of the trade union IG Metall and member of the executive board of the Plattform) took part in an RRI seminar on the future of work, where he presented the topic from the perspective of German workers.

In mid-June, the second trip to Japan, which focused on SME market development, took place. The theme was “Robotics and IT Services for Industry 4.0”. Several SMEs introduced themselves to Japanese companies in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka during the trip. As usual, the trip resulted in an analysis of the target market highlighting business opportunities, the evolution of various market segments and practices. For Japan, Germany is a pioneer in the field of digitalisation and Industry 4.0. In this way, Japanese companies can get inspiration from their German partners, especially in the area of machine-to-machine, integrated assembly solutions and solutions for computer and network security.

Prof. Kagermann also traveled to Japan for a series of lectures in July. Part of the trip involved meeting representatives of the Japanese industry association Keidanren and of politics and business.

At the conference Securing Global Industrial Value Networks – synchronizing international approaches, Japan represented one of the largest international delegations, including representatives of the RRI and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Among others, a joint position papier by the Plattform and RRI was presented at the conference in Berlin in May.

Japan also visited the world’s leading trade fair in Hannover in April. The partners organized the traditional German-Japanese forum on Industrie 4.0 and Connected Industries. The Japanese experts were accompanied by an SME delegation, with a focus on concrete applications of Industry 4.0. In this context, a joint paper on the application scenario Value Based Services was presented.

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