Studying Industry 4.0 Global: Strategies for Cooperation with Global Partners

The German academy of engineering sciences, acatech, is currently studying international cooperation in Industry 4.0 in a global context. On the basis of expert interviews in Germany, China, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the US, it will examine where international co-operation is meaningful and how it can be established.

Industry 4.0 is not only a priority in Germany, but throughout the world, although the approaches and expectations differ. Understanding these differences and the opportunities is a necessary foundation for networked value creation and an opportunity for international development cooperation.

The expert group has conducted extensive interviews with more than 150 experts from Germany, China, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the USA. These countries are important locations for industry 4.0 and thus potential cooperation partners. The results of the survey show a cross-national awareness of the importance of industry 4.0, but also clear differences in focus.

From a German perspective the study highlights the different potential modes of cooperation in each of the six industrialized economies studied. China, for example, is an important partner as a multiplier for industry standards, while South Korea with large conglomerates (Chaebols) can offer access to that market via cooperation. The US is very strong in developing innovative business models in the areas of Internet, software and service, while Germany, on the other hand, is traditionally heavily involved in mechanical engineering. Both of these potentially complement each other.

In addition to acatech, the Heinz Nixdorf Institute of the University of Aachen, the WZL Machine Tool Laboratory of the RWTH Aachen University, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH and the TU Darmstadt have participated in the study which is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi).

Photo credit: Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from Kooperation International.


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