Industrie 4.0 and Its Impact on Industry and Education in Estonia
The salient feature of the economy today is the extremely fast pace of development. It has become extremely important for businesses, organisations, regions and states alike to remain competitive and to ensure sustainability.
With this in mind, Germany has taken the initiative in Europe. It has set itself the challenge to become the strong engine driving the European economy, and to take Europe with it on a path of more rapid progress. One of the crucial pillars of this realisation is the new, so-called fourth industrial revolution (INDUSTRIE 4.0) announced by the German Federal Chancellor Andrea Merkel. On the one hand, the objective of this new development engine is to improve the competitiveness of the European industry through a complex automation, and on the other, to apply completely novel economic models and to increase the importance of industrial internet. The list of key words of the new industrial paradigm starts with New Business Models, Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical Systems.
Yet, industry can be automated successfully only through a skilful introduction of the necessary equipment and systems. This is why the importance of robotisation and mechatronics as a whole has increased by leaps and bounds. It is lucky that the Estonian school system and industry have long valued mechatronics. Our curricula are suffiiently state-of-the-art, we have relevant professional standards, and Estonian industrial companies do well in the international competition. However, mechatronical systems are complicated, even more so on the top level. Development of mechatronics and manufacturing of products with a high added value could in fact be one of the directions for developing Estonian economy and improving its competitiveness.
Mechatronics is a fild that includes machine building, information technology and electronics. It has applications in all highly technological industries, such as medical equipment, car manufacturing, industrial automated systems, aviation and space technology, tool manufacturing, etc. All of these need huge amounts of complex components and signifiant competences. Industrie 4.0 should thus have a direct impact on Estonia, if only we were able to skilfully use it.