Digitalization and Industrie 4.0 are making new manufacturing methods possible – and demanding new business models. To showcase one vision of the future of manufacturing, the international industrial robot maker Kuka in Augsburg has teamed up with the insurance group Munich Re and the Porsche-owned consulting firm MHP.
Their “SmartFactory as a Service” model is now being demonstrated at a new “learning factory” in an old dumpling plant in Munich. It shows how smart factories enable flexible small-batch manufacturing for other companies by quickly reprogramming robots and outfitting them with different tools – while at the same time offering customers benefits related to risk management, financing and investment costs. The three partners believe this integrated model could shorten new products’ time to market by up to 30 percent.