Manufacturing-X: A data room for Industrie 4.0

Lisann Buitenwerf Lisann Buitenwerf Junior Online Marketing Managerin at Fischer

Everything started with industrialization, followed by automation. Now we are witnessing the next groundbreaking step: the digital transformation of industry and the formation of digital ecosystems.

Tabel of contents:

    Data permeate companies: If they are collected, merged and analyzed, they make workflows transparent, processes efficient and form the basis for new business models. In a world based on the division of labor, the use of digital processes creates transparency across company boundaries. Data ecosystems are the preferred tool for overcoming data silos and creating suitable interfaces.

    Manufacturing-X offers a unique opportunity for industry to improve its resilience, competitiveness and sustainability. Through previous initiatives such as Catena-X and the IDS and Gaia-X work, much of the groundwork has already been laid to enable rapid implementation.

    Manufacturing-X was launched as part of the Industrie 4.0 platform, a network of companies, associations, trade unions and research institutes. The platform is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Action and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

    What is Manufacturing-X?

    Industrie 4.0 requires data to be accessible, secure and connected end-to-end. Manufacturing-X aims to build a data ecosystem that enables the secure exchange of data between companies based on open standards, while ensuring digital sovereignty. In the future, companies should be able to use data efficiently and collaboratively across the entire production and supply chain. 

    Why is Manufacturing-X necessary?

    German industry plays a crucial role in the sustainable creation of wealth and is a leader in Industrie 4.0, which underscores its important role in the creation of new jobs.
    Societal prosperity in Germany and Europe is threatened by industrial policy frameworks and global crises. The global corona pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and climate change are increasing the pressure to act and to transform German industry as a whole digitally and ecologically. 

    Industry is under increasing competitive pressure, triggered by supply bottlenecks, production stoppages, shortages, rising inflation rates and the threat of a global recession.

    In addition, regulatory requirements are being increased by the European Commission, and Asia is increasingly dominating international standardization work.

    For the small and medium-sized industry, there is a risk of dependency on monopolistic platform operators. It is therefore necessary to quickly and efficiently establish interoperable and trustworthy data ecosystems across the industry.

    What are the specific goals of Manufacturing-X?

    The cross-sector initiative Manufacturing-X is driving forward the digitalization of supply chains in industry. Manufacturing-X establishes the data room 4.0, enabling: 

    - A restructuring of value networks and a rapid response to disruptions (resilience)

    - The promotion of new business models, the creation of a circular economy and the increase of efficiency (sustainability)

    - The promotion of digital innovations to secure and strengthen the global leadership position of German industry (competitiveness)

    The Manufacturing-X initiative improves the resilience of German industrial companies and thus strengthens their position in global competition. The goal is to secure the sovereignty of Germany as a business location as a whole and to prevent data-based dependencies of medium-sized companies on globally dominant digital platforms.

    As an export nation and global factory supplier, the competitiveness of German industry on the world market must be preserved and expanded. The ability to manage supply chains flexibly and quickly through the availability of information enables economic growth and creates capacities for the necessary ecological transformation.

    Competitiveness and social prosperity go hand in hand with the ability of the economy to contribute to climate neutrality and sustainability. It is crucial that Germany, as a leading industrial nation, sets an example and demonstrates how ecology and economy can be successfully harmonized.

    How to achieve these goals?

    Achieving these goals in an economy dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises will require the intelligent networking of industry with end-to-end data connectivity. A culture of multilateral data exchange and end-to-end solutions is essential. This is the only way to bring together all relevant data in production and supply chains across industries. In a world of scarce resources and uncertain supply chains, knowing the composition of products is more important than ever. This is the basis for functioning material cycles and reduces dependencies in an international context.

    Components for the implementation of Manufacturing-X

    Leading companies in the Industrie 4.0 community, together with their associations and networks, have already taken steps to jointly implement Manufacturing-X. The following activities are to be jointly advanced:

    - The establishment of a sovereign data room for Industrie 4.0.
    - The integration of medium-sized companies through individually adapted application concepts.
    - The Internationalization through the establishment of global standards for a comprehensive data economy.


    Components for establishing a data room for Industrie 4.0

    Lighthouse projects and application examples: 

    The predominantly medium-sized industry is integrated into complex global value creation networks with horizontal and vertical value chains. The demand to be able to map all life cycle phases of products in an intelligently networked industry leads to additional complexity in the value creation system. Each lead industry has its own highly complex value network and different requirements for the design of application examples, which necessitates central lighthouse projects and concrete application examples. These lighthouse projects build industry-specific data ecosystems based on relevant use cases and contribute to rapid and broad application in industry.

    Synchronization project: 

    For a smart, networked industry, it is essential that data can be exchanged interoperably and consistently between companies. This requires the development of data ecosystems that are technically secure, legally protected, and build trust. New digital business and cooperation models need to be used across industries. A project to synchronize lighthouse projects will drive these aspects forward and enable technical, legal, economic and sociopolitical implementation.


    Components for the integration of medium-sized companies through customized application concepts

    Transformation hubs and transformation projects:

    Accompanying transformation hubs will implement cross-industry and industry-specific transfer measures. This is intended to support a rapid and efficient broad impact throughout German industry. Supporting transformation projects will enable the rapid implementation of solutions in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) outside the lighthouse projects. They are intended to help ensure that SMEs are also successfully integrated into the digital transformation. 

    Transfer management:

    An overarching transfer management system will coordinate overarching transfer activities, communicate overarching application examples and content, and provide impulses for the transformation of SMEs.


    Component for internationalization by establishing global standards for a comprehensive data economy 

    Governance for Manufacturing-X:

    A broadly supported community must be established at the beginning of any planned activities and must be continually developed. A core group of key stakeholders from companies, associations, science and the public sector will be brought together within the Industrie 4.0 Platform to take responsibility for establishing and driving forward the Manufacturing-X community. The Industrie 4.0 Platform will use its established processes to develop a viable governance for Manufacturing-X together with all relevant stakeholders and to expand the range of stakeholders. To this end, an independent entity will initially be established to steer the community and coordinate the development of a data space as a public-private innovation partnership.

    The key role of data and information in digital transformation

    For the further digital development of a company, it is essential to consider the necessary infrastructure as well as the software and algorithms that are required for the implementation of the plans. Information technology plays a central role in coordinating a company's value network. In order to develop, implement, and succeed with a digital business model, it is necessary to have a self-determined approach to data and information. After all, data and information are the drivers of the digital age. They are often still spread across different source systems in the enterprise. This creates data silos because relevant information is not accessible to systems or users outside the source system. This typically prevents further use of the data outside the source system. 

    To take advantage of a digital business model, a company should be able to share data with customers and partners. Fischer offers a wide range of solutions for digital transformation. Learn more about data integration, the information platform Sherlock and other interesting solutions.

    Solutions for digital transformation


    Industrie 4.0 opens up unprecedented opportunities for the manufacturing industry in the handling and use of data. Thereby, a digital value chain is emerging that is based on global data spaces and data ecosystems. Examples of such data ecosystems such as Catena-X are intended to contribute to secure, self-determined and efficient data exchange within industry-specific value creation networks. They are a suitable solution for creating trustworthy transparency that is legally secure, economically sensible and technologically stable. Manufacturing-X is therefore a promising initiative that has the potential to fundamentally change the entire industry.