Industry 4.0

The term “Industry 4.0” was initially coined by the German government which describes and encapsulates a set of technological changes in manufacturing and sets out priorities of a coherent policy framework with the purpose of maintaining the global competitiveness of German industry. Industry 4.0 has brought many professions to change. People are obligated to learn new, everyday tasks but now are also compelled to use hi-tech gadgets which are fast becoming the most important factor in their working life.

Introduction Industry 4.0

Before Industry 4.0, there were three prior industrial revolutions that have led to changes of paradigm in the domain of manufacturing: mechanization through water and steam power, mass production in assembly lines and automation using information technology.
Industry 1.0 began around the 1780s with the introduction of water and steam power which helped in mechanical production and improved the agriculture sector greatly. Next, Industry 2.0 is defined as the period when mass production was introduced as the primary means to production, in general. The mass production of steel helped introduce railways into the industrial system which consequently contributed to mass production at large.
During the 20th century, Industry 3.0 arose with the advent of the Digital Revolution which is more familiar compared to Industry 1.0 and 2.0 as most people living today are familiar with industries leaning on digital technologies in production. Perhaps Industry 3.0 was and still is a direct result of the huge development in computers and information and communication technology industries for many countries .Industry 4.0 has brought change to many professions. People have always been obligated to learn new everyday tasks but now are also compelled to use hi-tech gadgets which are fast becoming the most important factor in their working life .
Industry 4.0 is being presented as an overall change by digitalization and automation of every part of the company, as well as the manufacturing process. Big international companies that use concepts of continuous improvement and have high standards for research and development will accept the concept of Industry 4.0 and make themselves even more competitive in the market .
This becomes possible by introducing self-optimization, self-cognition, and self-customization into the industry. The manufacturers will be able to communicate with computers rather than operate them. The schematic diagram of overview for the industrial revolutions is illustrated in Figure 1.

Fig. 1

Definition of Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 enables the manufacturing sector to become digitalized with built-in sensing devices virtually in all manufacturing components, products and equipment. The analyzing of related data within a ubiquitous system with the fusion of digital data and physical objects has the ability to transform every industrial sector in the world to evolve much faster and with greater impact than any of the three previous industrial revolutions i.e. Industry 1.0,2.0 and 3.0. In 2011, Germany introduced Industry 4.0 at the Hannover Fair event, symbolizing the advent of a brand new era of industrial revolution. When the idea was first mooted, extensive efforts were undertaken by the European manufacturing researchers and companies to embrace it. Their interest in this project or concept is due to the fact that under Industry 4.0, production will become more efficient and less costly. This is achieved by easy exchange of information and the integrated control of manufacturing products and machines acting simultaneously and smartly in interoperability. However, different researchers have different perceptions on the true meaning of Industry 4.0. Table 1 shows the different definitions of Industry 4.0 by different authors.

Author and yearDefinition
Kagermann , Wahlster & Johannes. (2013)  Industry 4.0 utilizing the power of communications technology and innovative inventions to boost the development of the manufacturing industry.
Qin, Liu & Grosvenor (2016)Industry 4.0 encourages manufacturing efficiency by collecting data smartly, making correct decisions and executing decisions without any doubts. By using the most advanced technologies, the procedures of collecting and interpreting data will be easier. The interoperability operating ability acts as a ‘connecting bridge’ to provide a reliable manufacturing environment in Industry 4.0. This overall consciousness gives Industry 4.0 the most important aspect of artificial intelligent functions.
Schumacher, Erol & Sihn, (2016)Industry 4.0 is surrounded by a huge network of advanced technologies across the value-chain. Service, Automation, Artificial Intelligence Robotics, Internet of Things and Additive Manufacturing are bringing in a brand new era of manufacturing processes. The boundaries between the real world and virtual reality is getting blurrier and causing a phenomenon known as Cyber-Physical Production Systems (CPPS).
Schwab (2016)Industry 4.0 is differentiated by a few characteristics of new technologies, for example: physical, digital, and biological worlds. The improvement in technologies is bringing significant effects on industries, economies and governments’ development plans. Schwab pointed out that Industry 4.0 is one of the most important concept in the development of global industry and the world economy.
Wang et al., (2016)Industry 4.0 makes full use of emerging technologies and rapid development of machines and tools to cope with global challenges in order to improve industry levels. The main concept of Industry 4.0 is to utilize the advanced information technology to deploy IoT services. Production can run faster and smoothly with minimum downtime by integrating engineering knowledge. Therefore, the product built will be of better quality, production systems are more efficient, easier to maintain and achieve cost savings.
Mrugalska & Magdalena (2017)The modern and more sophisticated machines and tools with advanced software and networked sensors can be used to plan, predict, adjust and control the societal outcome and business models to create another phase of value chain organization and it can be managed throughout the whole cycle of a product. Thus, Industry 4.0 is an advantage to stay competitive in any industry. To create a more dynamic flow of production, optimization of value chain has to be autonomously controlled.
According to the table above,most of the authors outlined the meaning of Industry 4.0 to consist of key topics  
Table 1: Summary of Definition of Industry 4.0

Characteristics of Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is the future of global manufacturing. It is the era of automation, of the digitalized factory and digitalized products – the fourth phase of industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0. Nevertheless, the academics field is still unable to define the approach as the Industry 4.0 is the basic term referring to the fourth industrial revolution. This causes difficulty to distinguish its components. There are 9 characteristics for industry as shown in Figure 2 below

Figure 2: Characteristics of Industry 4.0

Cyber-Physical System (CPS)

Industry 4.0 can be played as a Cyber-Physical System study where the advances and speed of development in communication and calculation form the Cyber-Physical System and Industry 4.0. Each production system of CPS has sensors installed in the entire physical aspects in order to connect the physical things with virtual models. Due to Cyber-Physical System to be more common in society and occurs during interaction with humans, it must be ensured that CPS behave stably and has a certain bearing when utilized with artificial intelligence (AI) (Mosterman & Zender, 2015).CPS is also the foundation to create the Internet of Things (IoT) which can be combined to become the Internet of Services (IoS).Hence, businesses will find it easier to establish global networks which joins the warehousing systems, machinery and production facilities of CPS in the future.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Industry 4.0 is the new phrase for the combination of the present Internet of Things (IoT) technology and the manufacturing industry. Industry 4.0 was initiated as a result of the combination of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Services (IoS) in the manufacturing process. Generally, IoT can provide advanced connectivity of systems, services, physical objects, enables object-to-object communication and data sharing. IoT can be achieved through the control and automation of aspects like heating, lighting, machining and remote monitoring in various industries.

Internet of Services (IoS)

Internet of Services acts as important components in the automotive industry. Activities are triggered through data transfers in the information technology to make daily mobility safer, easier and pleasant. The Internet of Services (IoS) acts as “service vendors” to provide services through the internet according to the types of digitalization services. These services are available and on demand around business models, partners and any setup for services. The suppliers provide and aggregate the services into additional value services as communication among consumers can be received and accessed by them through various channels.

Big Data and Analytics

Under Industry 4.0, big data analytics is beneficial for predictive manufacturing and is an important direction for industrial technology development through the rapid development of the Internet. This leads to huge amounts of information produced and obtained daily where current processing and analysis is unable to cope using traditional methods. Hence, big data has become a hot topic recently in Industry 4.0. Many other applications would be able to gain additional values when existing techniques become more mature to handle big data. Big data is the utilization of digital technology to conduct analysis. According to Forrester’s definition, “Big Data” can be divided into four dimensions which are volume, variety, value and velocity.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) has begun to be considered as one of the most promising business that technological companies should heavily invest in. This technology can bring huge support for maintenance works in business due to reduced time needed for maintenance works and reduction of potential errors in maintenance works. It can predict with high accuracy and allows the frequency of maintenance to be kept at low numbers by utilizing predictive maintenance to prevent any unplanned reactive maintenance. This will reduce costs associated with doing too much preventive maintenance.

Autonomous Robots

Current robots have higher flexibility, advanced functions and are easier to operate in multitudes of fields. In the near future, robots will interact with each other and collaborate actively with humans under the guidance of handlers. These robots will be cheaper and more sophisticated in order to achieve better abilities compared to those currently used in the manufacturing field.

Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing)

Industry 4.0 is stimulating the utilization of advanced data technologies and smart production systems. Hence, additive manufacturing is one of the crucial tools to embrace Industry 4.0. The implementation of new  manufacturing skills for the purpose of integrating information technologies plays a crucial role in the competitiveness of the economy. The advancement of cyber technology has encouraged the transition to Industry 4.0. The trend of looking for new materials available using additive manufacturing is increasing. Certain required characteristics of a material can be achieved by metallic constituents and smart materials. In fact, the implementation of Industry 4.0 hugely depends on the capabilities of additive manufacturing.
Cloud Computing (CM) Cloud computing is a relatively new system logic that provides a huge space of storage for the user. A small amount of money allows enterprises or individuals to access these resources. Over time, the performance of technologies keep on improving, however, the functionality of machine data will continue to be stored into the cloud storage system, allowing production systems to be more data-driven. Company limitations can be minimized since more data sharing will occur across sites for production-related undertakings in the industrial revolution. Cloud computing is slowly becoming a consideration by many companies during their data systems build. Even if software was traditionally not kept in clouds, the amount of applications being developed in clouds is gradually increasing.


Simulation modelling is a way of running a real or virtual process or a system to find out or guess the output of the modelled system or process. Simulations are done by using real-time data to represent the real world in a simulation model, which include humans, products and machines. Therefore, operators are able to optimize the machine settings in a virtual simulated situation before implementing in the physical world. This decreases machine setup times and improves quality. Latest revolutions in the simulation modelling paradigm enable modelling of manufacturing systems and other systems through the virtual factory concept. Furthermore, advanced artificial intelligence (cognitive) on process control, including autonomous adjustments to the operation systems (self- organization) can also be done through simulations .


In a nutshell, Industry 4.0 is the future of global manufacturing which aggregates existing ideas to a new value chain which plays a crucial role to transform whole value chains of life cycle of goods while developing innovative services and products in the manufacturing industry which involves the connection of systems to things that creates self-organizing and dynamic control within an organization. Industry 4.0 describes a future scenario of industrial production that is characterized by the aspects of a new level of controlling, organizing and transforming the entire value chain with the life cycle of products,resulting in higher productivity and flexibility through three types of effective integration which are horizontal, vertical and end-to-end engineering integration. Hence, these can predict product performance degradation and autonomously manage and optimize product service needs and consumption of resources which lead to optimization and reduction of costs. Next, the creation of dynamic, real-time optimized and self-organizing cross-company value networks through the Cyber-Physical Systems(CPS), Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), additive manufacturing, cloud computing and others are added. It is hoped that with the proper guidance and technical skills, more and more manufacturing companies in Malaysia will implement Industry 4.0 in their business.

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