Smart retrofitting as a structured approach for an organization to implement industry 4.0 using its existing resources

  • Implementierung von Industrie 4.0-Ansätzen in Organisationen durch Smart Retrofitting unter Nutzung bestehender Ressourcen

Guerreiro, Bruno Vallarelli; Schmitt, Robert H. (Thesis advisor); Prefi, Thomas (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : Apprimus Verlag (2022)
Book, Dissertation / PhD Thesis

In: Ergebnisse aus der Produktionstechnik 3/2022
Page(s)/Article-Nr.: 1 Online-Ressource : Illustrationen

Dissertation, RWTH Aachen University, 2021


The work described in this thesis focuses on the development of a structured approach to empower organizations to individually implement Industry 4.0 based on their corporate culture, challenges and needs using the existing human and material resources within the organization. Thereby, the Smart Retrofitting approach has been conceived which supports the hypothesis that the retrofitting of existing equipment is the most practical and suitable solution for any size of organization to engage in the implementation of Industry 4.0. The Smart part of the Smart Retrofitting focus on spreading the Industry 4.0 throughout an organization independent of its size through a continuous implementation process and a Top-down Bottom-up strategy. Implementing aspects of Industry 4.0 in their existing production equipments fulfilling the organization’s established targets and demands for Industry 4.0 is the main target of the Retrofitting part of the Smart Retrofitting approach. A change management model was developed based on the Smart Retrofitting Approach aiming to fulfill its values and purposes. The Smart Retrofitting Change Management model pursues the involvement of all employees within an organization. Therefore, it is composed of a Top-down Bottom-up management approach in which the organization’s own created vision and the direction to be followed is given by the highest hierarchical employees. The Industry 4.0 vision is based on current and upcoming challenges and needs that the organization faces. In order to implement the created vision, the Smart Retrofitting Change Management Model promotes a roadmap ―Smart Retrofitting Roadmap-- assembled in a Top-down Bottom-up strategy. In this model, the middle and lower hierarchical employees will design and execute short-, medium- and long-term projects for the implementation of Industry 4.0 within their daily business activities following the Industry 4.0 vision of their organization. The Smart Retrofitting Change Management Model has five phases: Unfreezing, Moving, Unfreezing 2.0, Refreezing and Smart Retrofitting Actions. In addition, the Smart Retrofitting Change Management Model suggests that the organization creates a Smart Retrofitting Agent Network which shall empower the employees from all different hierarchical levels of the organization to exchange knowledge and support each other in their activities concerning the implementation process of Industry 4.0. Consequently, such engagement of the employees will generate a motivational effect between them and will mini-mize possible internal resistances during the implementation process of Industry 4.0 within the organization.The validation of the Smart Retrofitting approach occurrs gradually by applying it at a single production equipment up to a global acting organization. Therefore, the first case study targeted the execution of the Smart Retrofitting Approach on an over forty-year-old devel-oped equipment which is exclusively used by the metallurgical industry sector to purify Aluminium. The second case study was accomplished at thyssenkrupp Brazil Ltda. -Division Rothe Erde- and consisted in the implementation of Industry 4.0 in their large slewing bearing production line dedicated to the wind energy industry sector. Finally, the third case study was accomplished on a global scale at Henkel AG & Company, KGaA at their Adhesives Technologies business unit.