Digitalization & Industrie 4.0
Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning: The digital transformation has long since arrived in mechanical engineering. However, the associated dynamics repeatedly present every company with the challenge of recognizing and successfully exploiting existing digitization potential.

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From our Articles
Guideline "Added Value by Software" 2021

The new VDMA Software and Digitalization publication "Added Value through Software" has been available since April 2021.

Minimize risks

The guide "Data Protection & Industry 4.0" provides an introduction to the topic of data protection in Industry 4.0 and shows approaches and further information options for minimizing risks.

Always up to date

Are you interested in news, events and trend topics relating to digitization in mechanical and plant engineering? Stay up to date with our app "VDMA Software & Digitalization".

Investments in Industry 4.0

With the model-based online tool "Investment Calculator 4.0" and the accompanying guide, the VDMA is setting new standards in the economic evaluation of digitization projects.

Training in digitized production: What needs to be done

The increasing digitalization and networking of production also affect the skilled workers in the value-added areas. For this reason, a number of things must already change in dual training.

"Textil vernetzt" also supports textile machine construction

"Textil vernetzt" assumes that digitalisation will change working methods, jobs, the organisation of work and the way business transactions are conducted.

Development of an AI-based tool for component design

Radical product and software innovations present many opportunities as well as risks and challenges for companies.

Digital Product Development - Success factors for product development in a digital world

The soon-to-be-launched study "Digital Product Development" aims to identify successful ways for digital collaboration in engineering. The VDMA will accompany this study as an associated partner.

umati shows worldwide data connectivity at EMO Milan

With more than 50 connected machines from all over the world, almost half of them remote, umati will be exhibiting at EMO Milan in Hall 7. On the redesigned umati dashboard, interested visitors can observe live what these machines, connected via the standardised interface OPC UA for Machine Tools, are currently doing and how they are working. The presentation is part of an international presentation programme with which the VDW is promoting the global language of production.

ERP systems important data source for companies' CO2 footprint

The ERP working group of the VDMA is constituted; the reduction of CO2 emissions is in the foreground of the work.

Better legislation, simplify bureaucracy

Despite all political efforts, the bureaucratic burdens on industry are increasing, even in the medium-sized mechanical and plant engineering sector.

Augmented Reality at the "Digitalization Network Valves

On 21.09.2021, the DigitalisationNetwork Valves (DNA) dealt with the topic of "Augmented Reality in maintenance and servicing" as part of its series of events.

OPC UA and Drones

Interface standards are becoming increasingly important in the industry. Whether and how OPC UA as well as Companion Specifications can be a possibility in the drone environment in the future was the topic of yesterday's workshop.

AI-based object recognition with drones

When you bring drones and Artificial Intelligence together, there are completely new possibilities for data collection. DENKweit and FlyNex are combining their technologies to do just that.

Cybersecurity in capital letters

Steffen Zimmermann in an interview in the podcast "Digital genial" by proAlpha

12th German Mechanical Engineering Summit 2021: The Future Won't Wait

The 12th German Mechanical Engineering Summit on 26 and 27 October will kick off with a fresh concept, a new location and top speakers to address the most important topics in mechanical and plant engineering from many angles: international trade, climate change and digitalisation.

VDMA Congress presents digital solutions for mechanical and plant engineering

The field of tension of digital transformation in the industry shaped the VDMA Congress "Digital Solutions for Mechanical and Plant Engineering" on 23 September 2021 in Vienna. Over 100 participating executives from six countries learned from eight practical examples how digitalization can accelerate the development of mechanical engineering.

Freedom of contract as a guiding principle of the Data Act

VDMA replied on 3 September 2021 to the EU-Commission's consultation on the Data Act. VDMA is critical of some elements in the B2B area, such as a fairness test and access rights.

Legal guide for remote commissioning

Remote commissioning has gained in importance in mechanical and plant engineering due to the pandemic - also in NRW. The VDMA is developing a guide for this commissioning.

Mobile working and home office - what's next?

The corona pandemic has given digitization in Germany a boost and many companies have had to adapt to the new working conditions - including in the mechanical and plant engineering sector.

FAQ list "Gaia-X for SMEs

VDMA has published the FAQ list together with ifok.

EMO Hannover repositions itself

"Hello, new EMO Hannover" was the welcome message at the EMO Hannover Relaunch Conference in the H'Up on the Hannover Exhibition Grounds. On 14 September this year, the VDW (German Machine Tool Builders' Association), organiser of the EMO Hannover, invited international media representatives and EMO Hannover exhibitors to the digital presentation of the new trade fair concept. The concept and the topics were presented with exciting keynotes and stimulating discussions.

Steering Group Research and Technology "reloaded"

Even before the general meeting, the LK FuT will meet again in mid-November after a longer break. This was agreed upon by Dr. Paul Althaus as chairman and Stephan Oehme in the first meeting.



OPC UA for Machinery - the base for all machines

New episode of the podcast by OPC Foundation about OPC UA for Machinery and why its the most critical and important base class of all VDMA information models. It will become critically important and mandatory not only for machines, but also for all services that access data.

AI for the implementation of Industry 4.0 in medium-sized companies

In a new expertise of the research advisory board of the Industrie 4.0 platform, the use and entrepreneurial potentials of AI solutions in manufacturing SMEs were investigated.

Predictive Maintenance I Potential not yet exhausted

Predictive maintenance is on everyone's lips as a buzzword in the field of Industry 4.0 and is considered the goal of many maintenance managers. Nevertheless, this technology has not yet been used as standard.

New guidelines for dealing with security vulnerabilities in China

On September 1, 2021, the Data Security Law and the new requirements for dealing with vulnerabilities in networked products came into force in China. VDMA has already prepared a policy briefing on the Data Security Law. Together with the company Sinolytics, the VDMA is now also offering a policy briefing exclusively for VDMA members on the requirements for dealing with vulnerabilities.

EU law threatens use of artificial intelligence in industry

Artificial intelligence is an essential key technology for European machinery and equipment manufacturing. This requires an EU legal framework that does not wrongly classify mechanical engineering products as high risk.

Metal and electrical industry: Social partners set new standards for continuing training

Together with its partners Gesamtmetall, IG Metall and ZVEI, the VDMA wants to specifically incorporate new qualification requirements of the digital world of work into continuing vocational training and set new standards.

Software solutions must react flexibly to changes

We talked to Sebastian Betzin from generic.de and Wolfram Schäfer from iT Engineering Software Innovations about the topic of software quality and clean code.

#btw21: Economic policy for the upswing

Mechanical and plant engineering is Germany's largest industrial employer. It is a driver of digitalization, a pioneer of a climate-neutral economy and a global supplier to the manufacturing industry.

Comparison VDA 5050 vs. MassRobotics AMR

VDA 5050 is not the only interface being developed for automated guided vehicles. KIT has created a comparison with the MassRobotics Interoperability Standard for us.

Digitalisation everywhere: German mining technology benefits worldwide

The remaining manufacturers of machines for raw material extraction in Germany recognise their opportunity and are investing in developments to further digitalise the global mining industry.

GAIA-X: Benefits for small and medium-sized enterprises

The VDMA draws attention to an event of the BMWi.

New business models based on data

Mechanical engineering develops concepts and strategies to increase digital sovereignty; GAIA-X is intended to leverage innovation potential in the process.

Digital sovereignty and Gaia-X: Opportunities and risks in global competition

How can more digital sovereignty succeed in mechanical and plant engineering? These questions are answered by Lars Nagel, International Data Spaces Association and Kai Kalusa, VDMA in this episode of the VDMA Industry Podcast.

VDMA: High-performance electrical interface between tractor and implement

The tractor still plays a central role in the agricultural production process.

VDMA sees need for improvement

The EU is the first region in the world to plan a law on artificial intelligence. From the VDMA's point of view, it is good that the EU Commission is avoiding a sweeping blow. However, the proposal for the AI law goes too far in many places.

Protect essential knowledge and know-how

In future, the digital product passport is to include all important environmental and material data of a product along its entire life cycle. VDMA sees opportunities and challenges in this concept and calls for the involvement of the industry.

Connection sought: Digital infrastructure in Germany with room for improvement

The basis for a successful digital transformation is a strong digital infrastructure - which Germany does not have. Regardless of whether it's mechanical engineering, industry or the skilled trades: in order to remain competitive, hardly any manufacturing company today can do without the potential of digitalization.

#btw21: Labour market policy for more employment

The mechanical and plant engineering industry is facing enormous technical and economic challenges due to digitalization and climate change. This has consequences for human resources management: with increasing demand for skilled workers, companies simultaneously need more flexibility for necessary transformation processes. However, further regulations of the labor market, as demanded by some parties, threaten to prevent more employment.

The digital product passport - opportunities and risks

The digital product passport (DPP) is to collect and pass on product data along the value chain in the future. VDMA presents the opportunities and risks of the project.

Successful VtMA Erfa "Digitalization for Chemistry & Pharma"

The German Association for Process Machinery and Equipment (VtMA) organized a successful exchange of experiences with the process industry on the topic of digitalization for more than 50 participants.

Business Models - Value Proposition Canvas

Using the Value Proposition Canvas method, work out the customer's wishes and your own value proposition in more detail.

German SMEs look positively to the future

A recent study by Deloitte sees German SMEs currently doing very well and correspondingly optimistic. However, there is a need to catch up when it comes to digitalization.

Task force for software update management systems set up

New task force on cybersecurity management systems (CSMS) and software update management systems (SUMS).

Agricultural technology service relies on artificial intelligence

"Particularly in the after-sales business of the agricultural machinery industry, AI solutions offer notable automation and efficiency potential," says Ralph Traphöner of software specialist Empolis.

Secure supply chains in Industry 4.0

The recent supply chain attack on an IT service provider has shown how vulnerable companies are in the digitalized world: A zero-day exploit on the IT service provider suddenly affected countless customers! This example not only shows that crime-as-a-service is a thriving industry of organized crime with high double-digit million revenues, but also that the dependency on supply chain partners should not be underestimated!

Survey Industrial Security in the industry started

How do you protect yourself against breakdown, know-how drain, espionage or manipulation of machines and plants? What technical and organisational measures do you use? For the third time, the VDMA working group "Industrial Security" is conducting a survey on the current status of industrial security in industry.

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As an open interface standard, OPC UA is a central prerequisite for the successful introduction of Industrie 4.0 in production. OPC UA ensures the interoperability of machines and systems, which can be linked and redesigned as required via Plug & Work - platform-independent and cross-manufacturer.
Artificial Intelligence
Everyone is talking about artificial intelligence and machine learning. At VDMA, there are already many organizational units that are examining the topic more closely. Here, you can gain some insight into all the activities that the VDMA is conducting on the topic of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
When it comes to security at the VDMA, everything revolves around protecting machines and systems in production, manufacturing or intralogistics from attacks and disruptions. The aim of these organizational and technical protective measures is to develop cyber-resilient machines and systems and trustworthy services while reliably maintaining their permanent operation.
Networking in the value chain can only succeed if there are uniform norms and standards. OPC UA is the central building block for interoperability in production. Planning, construction, simulation, utilization and recycling are components of the life cycle and require cross-manufacturer interfaces.
Platform economy
The mechanical engineering industry is successfully advancing the digital transformation. So far, this has primarily concerned manufacturing, but in the future it will also involve new business models. Digital platforms and the associated platform economy are going to play an ever more prominent role, and value creation in the mechanical engineering industry is increasingly taking place via digital services.
Intelligent Production
Industry 4.0 necessitates changes at all corporate levels and throughout the entire value chain. Industry 4.0 is associated with a new way of thinking about the organization of processes. Ultimately, what counts for companies is creating added value.

To the point

To the point

Auf den Punkt Zitat Digitalization

„The highest level in data sovereignty is that new business models can be generated through data.“

Kai Kalusa, VDMA Informatik

Auf den Punkt Zahl Digitalization


Percent of mechanical engineers

expect AI-based products or services to have a medium to very strong impact on their current business model.

Source: Maschinenbau in Zahl und Bild, 2020

Auf den Punkt Zusammenfassung Digitalisierung

Added value of data sovereignty for companies
  • Improvement of production processes
  • New cooperations within value creation networks
  • Generation of new business processes

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VDMA Focus-Topic

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Global production language

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Machine Learning

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Other VDMA Services
Database OPC UA Companion Specifications
In our database you can find all Companion Specifications created by VDMA working groups. The entries can be browsed, filtered by output period and downloaded as an Excel file.
Consultation offer Digitization and Industry 4.0
The competence overview for mechanical and plant engineering regarding the range of consulting offered by software manufacturers. This enables companies to pinpoint appropriate first steps in addressing the respective issues within their value chain, and to utilize this expertise in finding their own individual path toward digitalization and Industry 4.0.
Industry 4.0 Guide
Our guide is a practice-oriented tool that offers you specific entry points for identifying and introducing business models for Industry 4.0.
Guide on Marketing Digital Services
The guide "Successfully marketing digital offerings" assists you in identifying types of digital services and provides practical recommendations for successful marketing.
Industrie 4.0 Readiness Study
The "Industry 4.0 Readiness" study reveals companies' maturity levels across the individual 4.0-dimensions and defines the critical steps needed in each case to reach the next level.
Self-learning production processes guide
Our "Self-learning production processes" guide demonstrates how to use reinforcement learning in order to optimize your products and processes.
Working Group Research AI & Industry 40
Through its " I40 & AI Research" working group, the VDMA Industry 4.0 Forum links companies in the mechanical engineering sector with the innovation centers of German research institutes.
Expert Group Machine Learning
Among other things, the VDMA committee develops Use Cases on the topic of Machine Learning.
30 OPC UA working groups
The VDMA coordinates the activities of around 30 working groups that are defining a common, cross-industry language between machines and plants in the form of "OPC UA Companion Specifications".
Working Group Industrial Security
The VDMA working group "Industrial Security" is a VDMA committee dedicated to Security in industrial production environments and industrial products that has been in existence since 2012.
Expert Group Platform Economy
Since 2018, this working group has provided participating member companies with an opportunity to share experiences and Best Practices and to expand their expertise.
IT committee
The IT Committee's task is, in particular, coordinating the work of the VDMA IT Department and managing it in terms of content.
Chief Digital Officer Working Group
The topic of digitalizing business processes, products and services is currently occupying the minds of companies. With this working group, the VDMA aims to provide lasting support in this area.



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Partners of the VDMA

Nutzerorganisation „Industrial Digital Twin Association“
Plattform Industrie 4.0
Allianz Industrie 4.0 Baden-Württemberg
Labs Network Industrie 4.0

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