Since the“Industrie 4.0” initiative was first introduced by representatives from government, business and academia at the Hannover Fair 2011, this term has become commonplace. What it means is a revolution in industrial manufacturing through flexible production, intelligent factories and the use of data. The basis for achieving this is the increasing networking of machines, products and companies in the industrial Internet of Things.

The initiators of this initiative regarded the Internet as the driving force for the next, i.e. the Fourth, Industrial Revolution. While the advent of the steam engine sparked the First Industrial Resolution and initially made industrialization possible, the Second Industrial Revolution was based on the availability of electricity at the beginning of the 20th century and the Third Industrial Revolution resulted from the spread of the computer during the 1960s.


International dissemination of the term

The International Hannover Trade Fair and the various (usually direct) translations of the term “Industrie 4.0” which appeared in Wikipedia spread its use on a global scale. A support program initiated by the Italian government is thus called “Industria 4.0” and an initiative in the French-language province of Canada, Quebec, is entitled “L’industrie 4.0”. However, a direct translation of “Industrie 4.0” was not established everywhere. The French government thus refers to the “l‘industrie du futur” and the term Smart Industry is being used in the Netherlands for the same initiative during the period extending from 2018 to 2021.

In the USA, a “new machine age” has been conjured up to express this term, e.g. in the book published in 2014 by Brynjolfsson and McAfee and entitled “The second machine age”, which made it to the New York Times Bestseller List and was awarded the German Business Book Award 2015. The two authors describe how the rapid changes caused by digitization are completely transforming both the working environment and value creation. They derive economic opportunities as well as recommendations for action from this. By the way, they also define this development as the “Second Industrial Revolution”


Language Services in the Age of Industry 4.0

The various terms and concepts used for “Industry 4.0” make it clear that this term cannot always be translated directly into a foreign language, despite the fact that such direct translations already have occurred in many cases. Instead, this term must be explained and defined depending on the target group concerned in order to make it clear which aspects of the Digital Revolution are actually being referred to. Companies that offer products and services for Industrie 4.0 therefore must survey how they should position themselves in foreign markets and what language they should use for this purpose.


Prerequisites for Industry 4.0

The digital revolution in manufacturing or “Industry 4.0” also will be made possible by a number of new technologies. On the one hand, the increasing digitalization provides for the networking of machines. On the other hand, the networking of embedded systems creates so-called “cyber-physical systems” which link virtual and real environments. Examples of this include e.g. logistics systems or industrial process control. Another important basis for Industrie 4.0 and the intelligent factory of the future is the Internet of Things.

It is characterized by the networking of things, users, companies and partners. According to the consulting firm Deloitte, the Internet of Things means the “integration of device and sensor data with big data, analytics and other enterprise applications”. Completely new opportunities thus result for data-driven manufacturing. This is enabled by high-performance networks, the networking of machines, devices, workpieces and products, as well as by a powerful data analysis. Sensors in intelligent factories thus record important parameters and enable the status detection of all machines. Maintenance can thus be customized to meet individual needs.


Large amounts of data and communication are the central focus of Industry 4.0

The availability and processing of large amounts of data are constantly increasing due to embedded systems. The increasing networking by wire or wireless means, physically or via cloud, permits prompt data evaluation and a fast reaction to the circumstances that arise. If a machine failure is predicted due to increased temperature or vibration readings, this situation can be remedied either by an automated process or by human intervention before a costly failure occurs.

In the intelligent factory, machines communicate with each other, and therefore are able to control complex manufacturing or logistics processes automatically. By means of RFID labels, even workpieces and products can communicate with machines. Comprehensive quality information also can be collected during the manufacturing process and stored for later analysis and process optimization. The ubiquitous networking in the industrial Internet of Things also enables an individualized production as well as a fast response to changes in requirements.


Translation in the Age of Industry 4.0

Digital transformation has long since reached language services as well. Modern IT and artificial intelligence even enable pure machine translation. For some time now, language service managers have been working with large bilingual databases which, under certain circumstances, also can be used to train systems for machine translation or MT engines. However, the use of such systems is by no means the end of professional language services. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

As a rule, machine translations have to be postedited. Certain source texts, text types, fields or languages, or combinations of these four factors, are not suitable for machine translation in view of the target group or communication purpose involved. The deployment of qualified technical translators remains indispensable for cleaning translation memories, postediting or adapting culturally specific texts to the respective target groups in international markets.

What opportunities does “Industry 4.0” offer?

Through the intelligent networking of machines, products and processes and via the use of data, Industry 4.0 offers completely new opportunities. This enables greater flexibility and enhanced adaptation to dynamic developments in the market as well as the implementation of customer-centric, individual solutions. In addition, Industry 4.0 also offers excellent opportunities for optimizing processes and goods flows.

The digitalization of processes and manufacturing has already become reality here

While many projects related to Industry 4.0 are still in the development stage or are currently being tested as demonstrators, specific application examples which illustrate the advantages of Industry 4.0 already exist. The “Industrie 4.0” platform of the German Federal Government lists numerous such projects of large and small companies:

  • Start-up of logistics systems with a “virtual twin”: viastore SYSTEMS GmbH offers a solution which enables the virtual start-up of material handling systems. The time required for and risks involved in the start-up are thus reduced.
  • Visualization of value streams: Bosch uses RFID technology to visualize the value stream via automated posting and networked goods. The position of certain goods in the logistics chain can be clearly identified, thus increasing the transparency of the supply chain.
  • Networked manufacturing: Trumpf equips workpieces with a DataMatrix code, thus turning them into information carriers. All of the information required for the process chain is therefore available and paperless manufacturing is already within reach.
  • Autonomous maintenance: Schaeffler is focusing on the self-controlled status monitoring of machines. Innovative monitoring systems and sensor technologies are used here. The status of the machines can be determined precisely; in addition, the systems transmit data on process accuracy, machine utilization and availability in order to enable optimization of the production process.
  • Manufacture of furniture according to individual demand: The furniture manufacturer HABA has changed over to just-in-time manufacturing through new processes and the targeted provision of information. This enables the company to produce much more efficiently and saves raw materials.

These examples are just some of many possibilities for more individual, more efficient and more resource-conserving production.


Language for Industry 4.0

In order to ensure that communication is possible between all networked workpieces, machines, systems and partners, all of these must speak a common language. A VDI/VDE workgroup is currently working on the so-called I4.0 language. As with conventional languages, this also involves vocabulary, message structure, semantics and interaction. Because, in order to fully utilize the possibilities of Industrie 4.0, all data and information must be machine readable and the communication between machines must take place in a precise, clear language.

The same also applies to users and providers of systems, processes and services relating to Industrie 4.0. To ensure that your texts really reach your customers, partners, suppliers and employees throughout the world, EHLION supports your international communication relating to Industrie 4.0.

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