What is Industry 4.0? The Basics of Industry 4.0

The introduction and innovation of technology such as augmented reality, automation, and cloud computing in factory management are slowly changing the way industries operate. Although the current rate of manufacturing innovation is unknown, the uses and potential uses of technology in industries made this era the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is otherwise known as Industry 4.0.  Industry 4.0 defines the artificial intelligence and machine learning networking of machines and processes in the industry aided by communication technology and information. Basically, the traditional industrial processes are being fused with digitalization.

Manufacturing, assembly, maintenance, and product delivery are part of the intelligent value chains and product life cycles. The development of new technologies that are being used in different industries and organizations, removing the boundary that divides physical and virtual worlds. Read on to know more about the basics of Industry 4.0.

Industrial Revolutions as Pioneers

The era of mechanical production started due to the construction of railways and the creation of the steam engines. All of these started in 1760 and ended in 1840, labeling this manufacturing innovation as the first industrial revolution.

The second industrial revolution started due to the introduction of electricity and the installation of the first moving assembly lines in the automotive industry. When Henry Ford installed the first moving assembly line for mass production in 1913, employees were able to concentrate on working only one unit, speeding up the production process.

The third industrial revolution was the development of semiconductors and mainframe computers in 1960. The third industrial revolution continued due to the invention of personal computers in 1970 as well as the internet in 1990.

The fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 is being considered as the era of digitalization. Industry 4.0 was formed because of nine foundational technology advances and was shaped due to the development of new physical and digital trends.

The Nine Foundational Technology Advances

The nine foundational technology advances are already being used in manufacturing. But, using them with Industry 4.0 can transform production by joining the isolated, optimized cells and turning it into a production flow that’s automated, integrated, and optimized.

The nine foundational advances are big data and analytics, autonomous robots, simulation,  system integration, internet of things, cybersecurity, cloud, additive manufacturing, and augmented reality.

Big Data and Analytics

Analytics established from large data sets can improve equipment, optimize production quality, and efficiently save energy. In the context of Industry 4.0, real-time decision making will be supported by the collection and complete interpretation of data. The data will be collected from production equipment and customer-management systems.

Autonomous Robots

Using robots for manufacturing in industries are becoming more effective because robots are evolving in terms of being more autonomous, cooperative, and flexible. Autonomous robots safely interacting and working side-by-side with humans to learn from them can change the traditional manufacturing processes.

Autonomous robots will become cheaper and are capable of doing more than what they are expected to do. Further, using them can even produce higher-quality goods at a reduced cost because they are more efficient, faster, and more flexible manufacturing processes.

You can also check out robots.net if you want to know more about the progress and latest features being used for autonomous robots.


Simulations will be able to leverage real-time data to illustrate the physical world in a small, virtual model. Simulation can even include humans, machines, and products to test the next product in the line. Testing products in the virtual world before making it physically can increase the quality and reduce the production time.

Horizontal and Vertical System Integration

The IT system we have today is still not fully integrated and the link between companies, customers, and suppliers can nowhere be found. Engineering, production, and service departments are also apart. Enabling automated value chains will be made possible with Industry 4.0 by uniting companies, departments, and functions into a cross-company.

Internet of Things

More devices will consist of embedded computing, put together using standard technologies.  The Industrial Internet of Things enables real-time responses with field devices containing centralized controllers by distributing analytics and decision making.


Industry 4.0 provides stronger connectivity and communication protocols to companies. Cybersecurity threats won’t be able to pierce the industrial systems and manufacturing lines due to more secure and reliable communications, and sophisticated identity.


Cloud-based software allows for increased data sharing between company boundaries and sites. Cloud technologies will also be improved in terms of performance and reaction time. Companies will then use more data-driven services for a more effective production system.

Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing methods such as 3D printing will be used to produce customized products in small patches. Utilizing new additive manufacturing methods can offer companies construction advantages with challenging and lightweight designs.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality-based systems can benefit industries by sending repair instructions using smartphones. Capitalizing on augmented reality in the manufacturing process can improve decision making and work operations for workers using real-time information.


Having an automated, integrated and optimized production flow can make it possible for industries to gather and analyze sets of data across machines. As a result, intelligent machines, networked processes, and smart factories can lead to a change in traditional production relationships between customers, producers, and suppliers.

The importance of making manufacturing processes more flexible can optimize production processes because of the artificial intelligence in pieces of equipment. Autonomous robots and automated logistics with machine learning can enable them to learn and optimize themselves to automatically adjust to the needs of production.

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