SAP University Alliances

Industry 4.0: State-of-the-Art Manufacturing Opportunities for Universities

SAP University Alliances and Festo Didactic have agreed to collaborate on an overall vision: to jointly drive Industry 4.0 to academia globally, to train and qualify young talent for the future production world via the combined networks of faculty from Festo and SAP University Alliances. This collaboration was kicked off at the 19th SAP Academic Conference EMEA, Sept 9 & 10 in Berlin.

To fulfill this vision, a number of opportunities for faculty around the world have been created to engage with this new initiative, including bringing new Industry 4.0 curricula to classrooms; engaging students in Industry 4.0 events, crowdsourcing, and research; and driving joint thought leadership with SAP, Festo, other industry partners, and leading academics.


Why Industry 4.0 

The fourth generation of industrialization heralds the evolution toward smart factories that leverage the latest technological concepts and innovations. The number of intelligent devices in factories and the amount of information provided by these devices is increasing significantly.

This not only brings much better insight and transparency into the actual situation on the shop floor, it also allows much more timely and informed decisions than in the past. A network of intelligent systems, products, and machines is able to exchange information and make decisions more and more autonomously. This increases the efficiency and flexibility on the shop floor and ultimately the degree of automation in modern plants.

One important focus of Industry 4.0 is the big market trend toward highly individualized products. Production strategies are needed that can build individual products with high efficiency, quality, and output rates at attractive prices (referred to as mass customization). Production lines need to adapt the production process to the specific product of the individual customer order.  All involved systems need to be fully integrated; otherwise the time to delivery as well as the error rate due to inconsistent data will increase significantly.

Key Enablers are:

  • Mobile Networked Computing: Affordable access to information
  • Social Media: Knowledge shared in communities
  • Internet of Things: Connected via one protocol
  • Machine 2 Machine: Self regulation
  • Big Data & Predictive Analytics: Understanding and extrapolation


How to Bring Industry 4.0 Into Your Academic Programs 

SAP University Alliances and Festo Didactic will jointly build an Industry 4.0 education and research package that will target engineering, business, and executive MBA students. This package will include classroom training, an openSAP course, and research topics. Classroom training will include a curriculum that will be available as a pilot for the semester starting January 2015 and for mass adoption starting August 2015 for production plant aspects the curriculum refers to the Festo Transfer Factory. The system provisioning for the curriculum will be provided by Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg.


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