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Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0

(San Francisco, California, U.S.A. - Jeff M. Wang)


Embracing Industry 4.0 - and Rediscovering Growth

Smart manufacturing is the use of real-time data and information and communications technology to advance manufacturing intelligence, and to significantly improve productivity, performance, technology adoption, as well as addressing sustainability issues. More specifically, this will require the research, development, and transition to industry of advanced sensing and instrumentation; process monitoring, control, and optimization; advanced hardware and advanced software platforms; and real-time and predictive modeling and simulation technologies.
Smart industry is a synonym for Industry 4.0 or industrial transformation in the fourth industrial revolution within which smart manufacturing de facto fits. Sensors and data analytics underpin smart manufacturing initiatives. 
Industry 4.0 is the name given to the German strategic initiative to establish Germany as a lead market and provider of advanced manufacturing solutions. It represents a paradigm shift from “centralized” to “decentralized” smart manufacturing and production. The 4th industrial revolution is powered by robotics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, Augmented Reality and Cloud technologies, all of which will use wireless 5G technology to allow machine to machine communication. This will become the backbone of manufacturing and related services in the future. 
Following nine pillars of technological advancement underpin Industry 4.0: Big Data and Analytics, Autonomous Robots, Simulation, Horizontal and Vertical System Integration, the Industrial Internet of Things, Cybersecurity, the Cloud, Additive Manufacturing, and Augmented Reality. Many of the nine advances in technology that form the foundation for Industry 4.0 are already used in manufacturing, but with Industry 4.0, they will transform production: isolated, optimized cells will come together as a fully integrated, automated, and optimized production flow, leading to greater efficiencies and changing traditional production relationships among suppliers, producers, and customers—as well as between human and machine.

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