Production Turnaround – Turning Data into Sustainability




Dr.-Ing., apl. Professor Wolfgang Boos

Geschäftsführender Oberingenieur


+49 241 80 27393



Through the Internet of Production towards sustainable production and operation

  Representation of the FESG factors Copyright: © WZL Sustainable Productivity as a new understanding in the production turnaround

"The magic word in industrial production is: productivity", this is how Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Boos, Managing Chief Engineer at the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) at RWTH Aachen University, introduces the freshly published whitepaper "Production Turnaround - Turning Data into Sustainability". On the basis of the following questions, the necessity of a redefinition of the concept of productivity in manufacturing companies, towards a holistic view of sustainability, is derived: Does the current paradigm of industrial production prevent sustainability and innovation? Is a production turnaround feasible? What principles are different production turnaround? What does the FESG assessment indicate in practice?

In the past, traditional methods were focused on productivity, therefore preventing the implementation of emission-free and sustainable production. The industrial revolutions were characterized by continuously striving for cost optimization, time savings and quality improvement. This carried an economically rational overproduction, which consequently lead to constant economic growth , which was directly linked to increasing resource consumption and CO2 emissions. Today, this resource-intensive productivity thinking is being overtaken by the future image of a more ecologically minded society: In the context of Sustainable Productivity as the novel understanding of productivity, a company is evaluated not only from a financial perspective (F), but also from an environmental (E), social (S) and governance perspective (G).

In the future, an entrepreneurial activity will be considered productive if all four FESG perspectives are taken into account along the entire product life cycle. The Internet of Production (IoP) is the starting point for addressing these new requirements and helping manufacturing companies to achieve greater sustainability, efficiency, productivity, quality and competitiveness.

By integrating ESG factors into the evaluation benchmark of the "Excellence in Production" (EiP) competition, in which the best toolmaking companies in German-speaking countries are evaluated and compared each year, not only the evaluated performance shifted, but also the focus of the participating companies, as Boos explains in a practical way using an example from toolmaking in the whitepaper.

  Man against light background Copyright: © WBA Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Boos, MBA

Germany manufacturing companies must start now!

In conclusion, Boos therefore predicts that the evaluation of performance according to FESG factors will expand to all manufacturing industries in the coming years. In order to remain compatible, companies must start now to optimize their value creation toward "sustainability" in order to meet the requirements. This is the only way to ensure the competitiveness of German industry.

Not least for this reason, sustainability will also be the focus of the 30th Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium under the central guiding theme "Turning Data into Sustainability". On September 22 and 23, 2021, experts from RWTH Aachen University's Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) and Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT will join speakers from industry and business to highlight previously untapped potential for a successful path to the future. In particular, the session entitled "Subscription Models for Sustainable Productivity in Mechanical and Plant Engineering" by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Günther Schuh will address and illustrate the topics of the white paper.