Industry 4.0 in plant design: Theoretical possibilities versus practical application

November 21, 2017

At the Congress Centrum Würzburg, Dr. Roderich Hettmann (Managing Director) gave a lecture on the subject of Industry 4.0 at the annual meeting of the ProcessNet technical associations "Process, Apparatus and Plant Engineering" and "Materials, Construction, Service Life". The annual meeting was organised by DECHEMA e. V.

After a short definition of the theoretical understanding of digitisation, Dr. Hettmann drew on customer projects to explain how this still young topic can be put into practice. Various possibilities were highlighted of how

• to record existing plant data

• to plan new plants or to modify existing ones

• to control the process of plant design

• to intelligently network the digital data obtained

• and of how to generate a true to the original 'digital twin'


Bilfinger Peters has already identified a need for optimisation in the current state of technology and has developed solutions for this. Both operators and planners often neglect the topic of documentation and archiving. The "Digitalisation & Innovation Lab" department established at Bilfinger deals intensively with the digitisation of existing plants, the conversion of P&ID paper drawings into digital, intelligent P&IDs and the intelligent networking of the digital database with the 3D model through to the so-called digital twin.


I found the presentation of various digital networking options particularly interesting.

Dr.-Ing. Sebastian Zeck, owner of ConsultingSZ and office manager Wanted Technologies at Dechema