HomeCorporateNewsZVEI Annual Conference 2015

“Industry 4.0 is a huge opportunity for industry and for Europe”

Dr. Peter Köhler stresses the opportunities and benefits of the fourth industrial revolution and signals his support for the digitisation of European industry at the ZVEI annual conference


At this year's ZVEI annual conference in Berlin, under the headline “Networking. Efficiency. Responsibility. Seizing opportunities. Creating values.”, members of the research, scientific and industrial community discussed the question of how to jointly manage the road to the digital age in Germany and Europe. Over the course of two days, the participants discussed important issues and action areas, including the role of European policy, the future framework conditions for industry and global competition between nations and regions. “Industry 4.0 and digitisation present European industry with a huge opportunity to create new growth and new jobs,” explained Weidmüller CEO Dr. Peter Köhler in his speech on the future remits of policymakers and industry. “We are starting out from a strong position: Germany has an excellent base and supplies the rest of the world – we want this to remain true in the future and so need to take action today.”

 (Source: ZVEI / Christian Behrens)

The Weidmüller CEO Dr. Peter Köhler spoke in his speech on the industry in Europe and what must be done in the future (Source: ZVEI / Christian Behrens)

Consistent European movement for the subject Industry 4.0

Alongside further networking, data security and growing demands on industry, the participants still believe that major action is required in order to create a powerful and uniform European movement behind Industry 4.0. Many countries do already have various platforms, clusters and specific activities to network, support and create the best possible framework conditions, but these still need more central management at EU level. “We need a common understanding of a European industrial policy that is fit for the future and geared towards international competition,” explained Köhler. “In many cases, we are still very focused on our domestic markets and do not comprehend that we can only hold our own in the face of international competition from countries such as the USA or China together as a strong Europe.” 

Policy even more in the obligation

 (Source: ZVEI / Christian Behrens)

Dr. Klaus Mittelbach, Dr. Peter Köhler, Dr. Jürgen Heraeus and Michael Ziesemer (f.l.t.r.) at the ZVEI Annual Congress 2015 in Berlin (Source: ZVEI / Christian Behrens)

Other speakers at the annual conference included Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society and Dr. Jürgen Heraeus, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at technology firm Heraeus and the Chairman of UNICEF Germany. The participants agreed that policy has a crucial role to play in future work. “The digitisation of industry and society must be taken into account in all policy areas, be it energy or health policy,” said Köhler. “The successful digitisation of industry, a pioneering road towards Industry 4.0, an EU policy geared towards internationalisation and a solid industrial policy framework are the perfect ingredients for securing our industrial future.”