ETFA'2016 is sponsored by:  IEEE IES Fraunhofer IOSB-INA  


Industrie 4.0 – the perspective of industrial automation relating to Industrie 4.0



Dipl.-Ing. Frank Knafla
Master Specialist Industrie 4.0

Dringenauer Strasse 30
31812 Bad Pyrmont, Germany

Tel.: + 49 (0) 52 81 9 46-25-14
Fax: + 49 (0) 52 81 9 46 22-99

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Industrie 4.0 relies on the systematic digitalization of industry that has already taken place in our private and social lives. The integration of industrial processes and value added chains is crucial across three dimensions:

• Horizontal, which is understood as the integration of value creation that transcends company borders

• Vertical, the integration of business processes right up to the cloud 

• The integration of digital items across the entire life cycle, from their creation right through to recycling.

The machines, manufacturing processes, and value added chains can optimize, reconfigure, and adapt to changed requirements autonomously as part of this integration. This is only possible thanks to systematic non-hierarchical networking of possibly relevant components such as sensors, systems, and machines. This networking is based on an industrial Internet of Things that in turn is also part of the greater Internet of Things, which developing and growing dynamically all around us. All of this is based on the notion that information is accessible in any condition, at any time, and at any location.

Automation will play a central role in Industrie 4.0. Demands on the intelligent production of tomorrow require automation and the cross-domain integration of autonomous component systems into a manufacturing system that is integrated into value creation networks vertically and horizontally. The component systems make decisions autonomously and interact with humans. 

Industrie 4.0 will not only bring the smooth change of efficiency, but also trigger a major disruptive transformation.

The basis of the required vertical and horizontal integration of the value added networks is successful digitalization. The gain in efficiency is not only tied to the digital transformation of real objects, since the digitalization of processes also plays an important role. 

The digitalization of the value added chain will result in the first massive changes. Manufacturers who cannot supply the digital value added chain in the future, that is the digital data model of their product (the digital twin), will no longer be able to do business. 

The fixed connection of the physical object and its function in the network is disintegrating, since it may not be the manufacturer who differentiates the product. For example, digital services could be downloaded from service platforms, similar to apps.

A large part of this data growth is generated by networked objects, the Internet of Things. Today, the objects constitute a mere two percent of the worldwide data generated by 14 billion devices on the Internet. By 2020, up to 50 billion devices in the Internet of Things will represent 15 percent of the international data volume. 

The advantage that traditional industry draws from the Internet of Things results from the relatively exclusive expertise of customers and applications in the respective industry at this time. Engineering plays a crucial part, since Industrie 4.0 is based on a close collaboration between the disciplines of information technology, electrical engineering, automation, and machine building.



Frank Knafla, born in 1960, studied from 1982 until 1990 electrical engineering with a focus on automation technology at the University of Hannover and the University of Paderborn.

Since 2001 he worked in the Phoenix Contact GmbH & Co. KG based in Blomberg. As a global market leader for components, systems and solutions in the field of electrical engineering, electronics and automation the company now employs more than 14,500 people worldwide.

First Frank Knafla headed the Marketing Communication department in Automation and changed in 2006 as Global Industry Manager Building Automation in the Unit Industry Solutions, where he led until 2009 the marketing and sales activities in this industry segment. 2007 joined Frank Knafla in the Phoenix Contact Electronics GmbH in Bad Pyrmont.

2009, he assumed the role of Master Knafla Specialist Energy Efficiency in the Business Unit Controls Solution Technologies (CST) at Phoenix Contact Electronics GmbH. From 2010 to 2012, he was head of the public founded project "Configurable Energy Management in body shops" in the research project “Innovation Alliance Green Carbody”. 2013-2015 Frank Knafla was member of the steering committee and of the working group Strategy within the German Platform Industrie 4.0 and he is involved in the development of the Phoenix Contact Agenda industry 4.0.

 Since 03.01.2015 Frank Knafla is responsible for the development and implementation of the Agenda industry 4.0 in the Phoenix Contact Group as a Master Specialist. Frank Knafla has more than 20 years experience in marketing with different user sectors and industries.