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Industry 4.0

Learn how Digitalization is changing the World in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

What is Industry 4.0?

The term "Industry 4.0" originated in 2011 from a project in the high-tech strategy of the German government, focusing on information and communication technology and promoting the computerization of manufacturing. The term "Industrie 4.0" (Industry 4.0 in German) was publicly introduced in the same year at the Hannover Fair. Then it became a public-private partnership for future manufacturing and included academic and industry luminaries.

Industry 4.0 provides a vision for how companies will thrive in 2030. In this vision, information and communication technologies such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will enable automated high-volume and high-variety quick response manufacturing. Materials, equipment, and products will communicate and coordinate with each other and humans in real-time. Using smart machines and materials to make smart products will result in smart factories that can coordinate through a value chain:

Industry 4.0 Vision of the future
Industry 4.0 vision of the future: Smart materials, machines and products will be used to leverage the Internet of Things across the internal and external supply chain.

What is meant by Industrial Revolution 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution because it is the next step after the previous three Industrial Revolution stages: from water, steam power, and mass production to electronics and automation. We can summarize the four Industrial Revolutions as follows:

  1. The First Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) was characterized by the use of water power, steam power, mechanical tools, and the birth of factories. A key milestone of this revolution was in 1775 when James Watt and Matthew Boulton patented the Watt steam engine, the first global technology to increase productivity.
  2. The Second Industrial Revolution (1840-1914) was characterized by mass production, assembly lines, division of labor, and electrification. A key milestone of this revolution was in 1867 when Chicago’s meatpacking district, the Union Stock Yards, begins using the world’s first moving assembly line. Another important milestone was in 1913 when Henry Ford begins operating his moving assembly line at Ford Motor Company, reducing assembly time by almost 90 percent.
  3. The Third Industrial Revolution (1947-2010) was characterized by the introduction of IT systems. In this period, digital technology overtakes analog and mechanical technology. A key milestone of this revolution was in 1958 when Siemens receives the patent for SIMATIC, marking the beginning of automated production, and then in 1996 when the same company launched "Totally Integrated Automation", enabling interaction of all automation components.
  4. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (2010-present) is now. It is characterized by automated production, smart factories, the Internet of Things, and cyber-physical systems. After the launch in 2011 of the Industrie 4.0 initiative by the German Government, a key milestone of this revolution can be considered in 2015, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the Siemens Amberg digital enterprise factory, which has a 99.99885 percent perfection rate and where products control their own assembly and communicate requirements and production steps to the machines.
The four industrial revolutions
The four Industrial Revolutions


Digitalization in Manufacturing

Digitalization in Manufacturing is the essence of Industry 4.0. What does it mean?

Analysts are predicting that the next years of innovation, productivity, and business growth will be driven by the demand for mass customization and by the convergence of technology advances for next-generation manufacturing infrastructures. This is what they call “Smart Manufacturing”.

Smart manufacturing means bringing intelligence into all the aspects of the manufacturing process and encompasses what you have heard about the “Internet of Things (IoT),” the “Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT),” and “Industry 4.0.”

Smart manufacturing is the integration of intelligence in the actual machines, parts, materials, products, buildings, and supply chain, and the application of that intelligence within a connected, open end-to-end process and infrastructure. With Smart Manufacturing, data is the master, no longer the system.

What is Industry 4.0 Technology?

Technology is a key element in Industry 4.0, like in any other Industrial Revolution of the past. In Industry 4.0 the most important technology is software and the devices known ad the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which allow software applications to collect data and transform them into intelligence.

The core software in Industry 4.0 is the Manufacturing Execution System (MES), which is part of a platform called Manufacturing Operation Management (MOM). This platform encompasses many different applications, that we have summarized below.

quality planningAdvanced product quality planning (APQP) is a formal and documented undertaking to ensure contractors build quality into the design of the program, product, and process. The formal steps of definition, verification, and validation are captured and reported on in software.

Industry 4.0 and the Digital Enterprise

Industry 4.0 cannot be adopted or implemented without radically rethinking all business methods and processes. In other words, without becoming a Digital Enterprise.

More data is being produced than ever before. Hidden in this digital gold mine are insights that will lead to the next great idea, insights into optimizing production operations, or even insights into how products and plants can be used for new business opportunities.

Smart factories with smarter, faster, and cheaper robots and additive manufacturing processes are disrupting and transforming the manufacturing industry. In this expanding global economy, these smart products and factories are connected through the Internet of Things (IoT) and drive the explosive growth of big data that increases the value of delivering the right data at the right time, making the right business decisions, and delivering the right level of personalization to the right consumer.

Manufacturers must rethink every aspect of their businesses and embrace digitalization. Only a fully digitalized business model with a consistent digital thread has the power and flexibility to speed up processes and optimize production operations.

Learn what Digital Enterprise means:

siemens mom white paper

White Paper

MOM will play a critical role in Industry 4.0

The essential role of MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) and MOM (Manufacturing Operation Management) in Industry 4.0. The innovator’s guide to manufacturing systems in future factories.

Software tools enabling Industry 4.0

Opcenter Intelligence On Time Delivery

Opcenter Intelligence On Time Delivery

Opcenter Intelligence On Time Delivery offers real-time insights and data-driven suggestions to optimize scheduling models,...

Manufacturing analytics

Manufacturing Analytics with Opcenter Intelligence Electronics

This Manufacturing Analytics solution provides PCB assembly executives and managers with crucial information to deliver...

Opti tools for Smart Manufacturing in the PCB assembly line

OPTI Tools

Discover the OPTI Tools, MES tools developed by Cadlog to meet the specific needs of...

IoT Industrial

Industrial IoT – Siemens Opcenter Connect Electronics

Discover how industrial IoT devices collect accurate and complete data to create the conditions for...

mes software, pcb assembly

MES Software – Siemens Opcenter Execution Electronics

Opcenter Execution Electronics is a complete MES Software solution based on direct connectivity to machines...

production scheduling

Production Scheduling and Planning with Opcenter APS and Opcenter Scheduling Electronics

Use Production Scheduling and Planning with Opcenter APS and Opcenter Scheduling Electronics to increase Productivity...


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Contact our expert to get quick answers to your doubts and curiosities.

Alessandro Balboni


Product Manager

Alessandro is the Product Manager for
Smart Manufacturing. He has more than
20 years of experience in Electronics
Design Automation and Professional
Services Management working for large
corporations. He joined Cadlog Group in
2013 and holds a significant record of
deployments of Smart Manufacturing
projects across Europe

Do you want to know more about Industry 4.0 solutions?

Do you want to know more about Industry 4.0 solutions?

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