Symposium on Industry 4.0: Powering Smart Manufacturing - the TU9 Alliance of German Institutes of Technology

© DWIH Tokyo

On October 26, 2016 leading researchers from different German technical universities presented recent findings and proven practices regarding the digitalization of production processes also referred to as Industry 4.0.

The event was jointly organized by the German Research and Innovation Forum Tokyo (DWIH Tokyo) and the TU9 German Institutes of Technology and received additional support from the Industrial Value Chain Initiative as well as from the German Embassy in Tokyo. Altogether 200 or so representatives from industry, academia and politics attended the symposium to deepen their understanding and exchange views on issues such as smart, connected products, digital infrastructure, integrated production systems and human-robot-interaction.

Professor Horst Hippler, president of the German Rectors’ Conference and representative of the DWIH Tokyo, noted in his opening speech: “Co-operation between Germany and Japan in the field of Industry 4.0 has a lot of potentials. The two nations have chosen rather different approaches for realizing their visions of ‘Smart Manufacturing’. These approaches, however, are not mutually exclusive but rather generate scope for synergies and create opportunities to learn from each other’s potentially diverging viewpoints and expertise.”

The TU9 president Professor Hans Jürgen Prömel further highlighted: “The term Industry 4.0 not only constitutes the connection between ICT and production systems, but also illustrates transnational interconnectedness and exchange. From the very beginning, the TU9 affiliated technical universities have acted as key drivers for innovation based on interdisciplinary research and their close relationship with the industry and continue to serve as academic companions in tackling industrial and societal challenges.”

Further opportunities for co-operation in the field of “Smart Manufacturing” between Japan and Germany were demonstrated in the context of an Industry 4.0 workshop, which was held the following day at the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan (AHK Japan). At this occasion, Professor Jürgen Fleischer from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology discussed with Japanese SME CEOs and representatives of large Japanese enterprises concrete, tailored approaches concerning the implementation of Industry 4.0.

The exchange of views and ideas continued in the evening of October 26 at a reception at German Embassy in Tokyo and on October 27 at a gathering of three TU9 affiliated university presidents and the president of the German Rectors’ Conference with representatives of the Japan Association of National Universities (JANU).

About the TU9

The TU9 alliance of German Institutes of Technology was founded in the year 2006 and is an association of nine of the most prestigious, oldest, and largest technical universities in Germany, which encompasses RWTH Aachen University, TU Berlin, TU Braunschweig, TU Darmstadt, TU Dresden, Leibniz University of Hannover, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, TU Munich and University of Stuttgart.

Altogether more than 270,000 students, 10 percent of all German university students that is, are enrolled at TU9 affiliated universities. About half of all German university graduates and PhD candidates in the field of engineering have been educated at TU9 affiliated universities.