In Industry 4.0, the increased complexity of and interaction between systems and components will certainly lead to far more information being generated than is currently the case. The system user, if faced with such a flood of unfiltered information, would surely drown in the deluge.
Substantial research is therefore being carried out to develop technical assistance systems that will keep the perceived complexity of machines and facilities at a level that users can process, and ideally even simplify them. These technical assistance systems possess cognitive abilities and are able to vest machines with abilities such as the power of self-configuration or self-optimisation. They will allow for a production plant, for example, to be assembled and adapted quickly and with ease – rather like a Lego construction – despite its increased complexity. Such a system could also ensure that a machine, as well as carrying out its actual function, is able to independently optimise its own energy consumption, thereby relieving workers of time-consuming processes or jobs that do not generate any actual value.
Prof. Jürgen Jasperneite, head of the Frauenhofer Application Center for Industrial Automation (IOSB-INA), answered this question.