Digitization will be the defining topic in the coming years.

Bild: iStock, imaginima

Digitization as a perennial favorite „How does the German industry perform in international comparison?“


Digitalization has established itself as one of the top items on the process industry agenda. The topic is also becoming increasingly important at Achema 2022. How does the German industry perform in international comparison?

Here is what the experts say:


  • Dr. Andreas Widl, CEO at Samson: The German process industry has been and still is strictly operating based on two main targets: Safety and Security. In times of raising operating costs, digitalization, connectivity, smart devices, APL-based IIoT and last not least ESG measures, a third parameter rightfully enters our industry: Sustainability. Samson has always been a highly recognized manufacturer of first class control valves, on/off valves, positioners and actuators. Since five years we also provide process intelligence to our customer be­cause we strongly believe that hardware and software, solid valve design and self dia­gnostics, actuators, sensors and field device communication will increase safety, security and operational performance. The German Process Industry is considering the 4th industrial revolution as an opportunity and the Achema 2022 will be our show case.

    Bild: Samson

  • Gerald Pilotto, Senior Vice President Global Development at Bilfinger: Digitalization in the process industry is an important factor for achieving the industries goals of safety, effi­ciency, compliance, and quality. Looking at the market outside Germany, the level of digitalization in Germany still lags behind. The digital infra­structure abroad is more advanced. In emerging coun­tries outside of Europe, significantly more greenfield plants are being built that are thought of digitally from the start. In addition to technological developments, digitalization requires above all organizational development. Both have to be implemented as close as possible to the operational unit. Bilfinger supports their customers in the digital transformation of their work processes, develop intelligent systems for data collection and analysis, and increase efficiencies through the implementation of digital solutions.

    Bild: Bilfinger

  • Dr. Björn Mathes, Member of the Executive Board at Dechema: Digital is driving the industry with ground-breaking innovations and unforeseen challenges coming in fast. But – as with all other top issues – digitalization cannot be solved by just one nation or one industry. Collaboration is key to solving such issues and moving the process industry to the next level of digitalization. NOA, MTP or Ethernet APL are examples of major initiatives where companies and associations have collaborated to drive digitalization in process industry. Examples that will drive innovation in the coming years, and: they either have their roots in Germany or strong influence from German companies. In a landscape where standards are becoming increasingly important, German players are actively shaping these standards together with industry peers.

    Bild: Dechema

  • Stefan Wedderkopp, Global Sales Director Process Plants at Aucotec: According to our experiences in plant engineering, the countries’ basic requirements are different. Since Aucotec is an absolute advocate of the "single source of truth" – for us a crucial cornerstone of efficient digitization – we implemented this principle into our engineering platform and are now seeing similar growth in their demand in all countries of the world. Abroad greenfield projects dominate clearly: so the entire plant engineering is digitized from the start, directly creating the digital twin. In Germany digitization predominantly refers to brownfield projects: the documentations created over many years in various tools must be migrated intelligently. So I would say Germany is no worse or better than other countries, the industry faces other challenges.

    Bild: Aucotec

  • Dr. Frauke Jordt, Vice President Vertical Management Chemie, Glass, Oil & Gas at Siemens: Industrial innovation continues to accelerate, supporting German chemical companies to drive digital transforma­tion. Most companies have Industry 4.0 in their sights, and a large proportion are already using digital applica­tions and solutions for production. Leading companies are succeeding in integrating digital technologies into all areas of their business, fundamentally changing the way they work and offer added value to their customers. This is just as true for Germany as for other industrialized na­tions. For future competitiveness, there is a need to be­come a digital enterprise by embracing the concept of the Digital Worker, cloud-based process control systems, and ultimately the convergence of all enterprise IT with the manufacturing floor. Another massive driver for transformation is the upcom­ing shift to sustainable operations. Efficient and quick change requires a comprehensive digital transformation.

    Bild: Siemens

  • Thomas Hermann, Head of Piping at Pörner Ingenieurgesellschaft: Digitalization led to many advantages for plant engineering companies. We at Pörner Group have been working almost completely digitally with advanced software tools since the turn of the millennium. Database-based 2D/3D CAD systems coupled with 3D laser scanning lead to projects in high quality finished in even shorter time while reducing the presence in the factory. As part of our Plant Engineering 4.0 concept, we started networking our programs early on and made them available wherever needed via Citrix. This avoids data redundancy from the start. The CAD systems with digital virtualization are connected to an ERP system with integrated project and documentation management. Thus, the project is comple­tely digitally documented and can be handed over as 3D viewer with linked documents. These are advantages our customers value.

    Bild: Pörner Ingenieurgesellschaft

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