Industry 4.0: Implementation and perspectives of the European iron and steel industry

The concept of Industry 4.0 is discussed as a central approach to strengthen international competitiveness. The digitization of process chains in discrete manufacturing is topic of intense research. However, only few studies explore the implementation and future development of Industry 4.0 in energy intensive process industries like iron and steel production.

In this context, the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI conducts a study on industry 4.0 in iron and steel industry in the framework of its strategic initial research program.

Within the project, the following questions were addressed:

  • How important is the concept of Industry 4.0 in the consideration of steel producing companies?
  • What is the current status of Industry 4.0 implementation in these companies?
  • What are the experiences from past and present projects?
  • What are the conclusions for the future development and application of the concept?

To answer these questions, a systematic review of publicly funded projects and publications was conducted. This was combined with expert interviews from iron and steel producing companies as well as plant manufacturers and additionally, a survey among practitioners and researchers was carried out.