Industry 4.0 is a name for the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing and cognitive computing.
Industry 4.0 creates what has been called a "smart factory". Within the modular structured smart factories, cyber-physical systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralized decisions. Over the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems communicate and cooperate with each other and with humans in real time, and via cloud computing, both internal and cross-organizational services are offered and used by participants of the value chain.
The term "Industrie 4.0" was revived in 2011 at the Hannover Fair. In October 2012 the Working Group on Industry 4.0 presented a set of Industry 4.0 implementation recommendations to the German federal government. The Industry 4.0 workgroup members are recognized as the founding fathers and driving force behind Industry 4.0.
On 8 April 2013 at the Hannover Fair, the final report of the Working Group Industry 4.0 was presented.
There are four design principles in Industry 4.0. These principles support companies in identifying and implementing Industry 4.0 scenarios.
Current usage of the term has been criticised as essentially meaningless, in particular on the grounds that technological innovation is continuous and the concept of a "revolution" in technology innovation is based on a lack of knowledge of the details.
The characteristics given for the German government's Industry 4.0 strategy are: the strong customization of products under the conditions of highly flexible (mass-) production. The required automation technology is improved by the introduction of methods of self-optimization, self-configuration, self-diagnosis, cognition and intelligent support of workers in their increasingly complex work. The largest project in Industry 4.0 as of July 2013 is the BMBF leading-edge cluster "Intelligent Technical Systems Ostwestfalen-Lippe (it's OWL)". Another major project is the BMBF project RES-COM, as well as the Cluster of Excellence "Integrative Production Technology for High-Wage Countries". In 2015, the European Commission started the international Horizon 2020 research project CREMA (Providing Cloud-based Rapid Elastic Manufacturing based on the XaaS and Cloud model) as a major initiative to foster the Industry 4.0 topic.
In June 2013, consultancy firm McKinsey released an interview featuring an expert discussion between executives at Robert Bosch - Siegfried Dais (Partner of the Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG) and Heinz Derenbach (CEO of Bosch Software Innovations GmbH) - and McKinsey experts. This interview addressed the prevalence of the Internet of Things in manufacturing and the consequent technology-driven changes which promise to trigger a new industrial revolution. At Bosch, and generally in Germany, this phenomenon is referred to as Industry 4.0. The basic principle of Industry 4.0 is that by connecting machines, work pieces and systems, businesses are creating intelligent networks along the entire value chain that can control each other autonomously.
Some examples for Industry 4.0 are machines which can predict failures and trigger maintenance processes autonomously or self-organized logistics which react to unexpected changes in production.
According to Dais, "it is highly likely that the world of production will become more and more networked until everything is interlinked with everything else". While this sounds like a fair assumption and the driving force behind the Internet of Things, it also means that the complexity of production and supplier networks will grow enormously. Networks and processes have so far been limited to one factory. But in an Industry 4.0 scenario, these boundaries of individual factories will most likely no longer exist. Instead, they will be lifted in order to interconnect multiple factories or even geographical regions.
There are differences between a typical traditional factory and an Industry 4.0 factory. In the current industry environment, providing high-end quality service or product with the least cost is the key to success and industrial factories are trying to achieve as much performance as possible to increase their profit as well as their reputation. In this way, various data sources are available to provide worthwhile information about different aspects of the factory. In this stage, the utilization of data for understanding current operating conditions and detecting faults and failures is an important topic to research. e.g. in production, there are various commercial tools available to provide overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) information to factory management in order to highlight the root causes of problems and possible faults in the system. In contrast, in an Industry 4.0 factory, in addition to condition monitoring and fault diagnosis, components and systems are able to gain self-awareness and self-predictiveness, which will provide management with more insight on the status of the factory. Furthermore, peer-to-peer comparison and fusion of health information from various components provides a precise health prediction in component and system levels and force factory management to trigger required maintenance at the best possible time to reach just-in-time maintenance and gain near-zero downtime.
Modern information and communication technologies like cyber-physical system, big data analytics and cloud computing, will help early detection of defects and production failures, thus enabling their prevention and increasing productivity, quality, and agility benefits that have significant competitive value.
Big data analytics consists of 6Cs in the integrated Industry 4.0 and cyber physical systems environment. The 6C system comprises:
In this scenario and in order to provide useful insight to the factory management, data has to be processed with advanced tools (analytics and algorithms) to generate meaningful information. Considering the presence of visible and invisible issues in an industrial factory, the information generation algorithm has to be capable of detecting and addressing invisible issues such as machine degradation, component wear, etc. in the factory floor.
Proponents of the term claim Industry 4.0 will affect many areas, most notably:
From both strategic and technological perspectives, the Industry 4.0 roadmap visualizes every further step on the route towards an entirely digital enterprise. In order to achieve success in the digital transformation process, it is necessary to prepare the technology roadmap in the most accurate way. In today's business, Industry 4.0 is driven by digital transformation in vertical/horizontal value chains and product/service offerings of the companies. The required key technologies for Industry 4.0 transformation such as artificial intelligence, internet of things, machine learning, cloud systems, cybersecurity, adaptive robotics cause radical changes in the business processes of organizations 
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