Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0
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Industry 4.0 thanks to a technological mix of automation, information, connection and programming, will lead the experts to the fourth industrial revolution. This is the direct consequence of digitization in the production field which has taken place for years now. A process defined by analysts as "digital transformation". For the first time, this new transformation will bring companies to face a twofold reality: physical and virtual resources will have to be managed equally, considering them as a single company production system.

History up to Industry 4.0

So far there have been three industrial revolutions in the western world: in 1784 with the birth of the steam engine and consequently with the exploitation of the power of water and steam to mechanize production; in 1870 with the start of mass production through the increasingly widespread use of electricity, the advent of the internal combustion engine and the increase in the use of oil as a new energy source; in 1970 with the birth of information technology, which gave rise to the digital era destined to increase automation levels by making use of electronic systems and IT (Information Technology). The starting date of the fourth industrial revolution is not yet established, probably because it is still ongoing and only in retrospect will it be possible to indicate its founding act.

Factory 4.0, the daughter of the fourth industrial revolution, is made up of machines that are completely interconnected with each other, which dialogue with each other and carry out self-diagnosis and preventive maintenance.

How Industry 4.0 was born

The term Industry 4.0 was used for the first time in 2011 at the Hannover Fair in Germany. The reference back then was to a project hypothesis from which a working group started which in 2012 presented a series of recommendations to the German federal government for the implementation of the Country's Business Plan. It is a set of measures that can encourage investment in the new sector.

Groups of experts and market analysts, such as Boston Consulting or McKinsey, have reported three levels of breakdown in the era of industry 4.0. It starts with Smart Production, which implies a set of new production technologies that create interaction between all assets related to production. This promotes collaboration between men, machines and systems. The second level is the Smart Services, which indicate a new generation management of IT and technical infrastructures, designed to help control and control systems, taking advantage of the logic of maximum integration between all actors, including customers.

Lastly, Smart Energy, the level of the new energy supply systems, which pays attention to monitoring consumption. These precautions make the infrastructures more performing, economic and ecological. An aspect that also has a return on image for companies.

How work will change with Industry 4.0

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is interacting with other socio-economic and demographic factors to create a perfect storm of business model change in all industries, resulting in major disruptions to labour markets. New categories of jobs will emerge, partly or wholly displacing others. A report of the World Economic Forum (The Future of Jobs 2016) claims that The skill sets required in both old and new occupations will change in most industries and transform how and where people work. It may also affect female and male workers differently and transform the dynamics of the industry gender gap. The Future of Jobs Report aims to unpack and provide specific information on the relative magnitude of these trends by industry and geography, and on the expected time horizon for their impact to be felt on job functions, employment levels and skills.

Each innovation leads to profound changes and, even in the case of Industry 4.0, there will be many changes in the world of work. There are many new professionals who will be born, and many jobs that will disappear. The areas that will play a central role will be financial, information technology, engineering and management, while there will be losses in the administrative and production areas. Two skills and competences that will become more and more important: creativity and problem solving.

Factories in Industry 4.0

There is the fear that machines will replace It is not known for certain, the fact is that according to a relationship of GE Digital with the company Vanson Bourne, the maintenance of the machinery by the machinery will qualitatively exceed that of human beings by 2020. A fundamental and very close change.

This can mean, that the machines will be totally interconnected with each other, will dialogue with each other and will be able to carry out preventive maintenance, in addition to self-repairing. Robots will work side by side with men, learning from them. The systems will be so flexible that it will even go as far as to customize the products for each individual customer and, in general, the factory will be Smart, in all respects.


  • Geissbauer R., Jesper V, Stefan S, (2016), Industry 4.0: Building the digital enterprise
  • Ustundag A., Cevikcan C., (2017), Industry 4.0: managing the digital transformation, Springer
  • Hildebrand N.J., (2018), Industry 4.0. Terminology, Effects on certain Industries and Consequences for Society, GRIN Verlag
  • The Future of Jobs

Author: Claudio Armenise