Smart factory

Smart factory or industry 4.0 is a name given to 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 is commonly referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.

Smart factory or industry 4.0 is a name given to 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 is commonly referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.


Used by manufacturing companies, a smart factory works by employing technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, analytics, big data and the internet of things (IoT) and can run largely autonomously with the ability to self-correct.

Margaret Rouse
Mobilio start factory vibration http://www.mobilio.io 모빌리오 스마트팩토리 진동

Characteristics of a smart factory

The defining characteristics of the smart factory are visibility, connectivity and autonomy. Factories have long relied on automation, but smart factories take this concept much further and are able to run without much human intervention. Through the use of modern technologies, the smart factory systems can learn and adapt in near real time or real time, enabling factories that are far more flexible than those of the past. 

Extensive use of IoT sensors and devices connects machines and enables visibility into their condition as well as into factory processes, creating an industrial internet of things (IIoT).  Increasingly sophisticated analytics and applications based on AI and machine learninghandle many of the routine tasks, freeing up people to focus on handling exceptions and making higher-level decisions. Robots are expected to populate smart factories for routine work, working alongside people.

Smart factory technology and processes

Smart factories rely on smart manufacturing, which connects the plant to other entities in the digital supply network, enabling more effective supply chain management. They also rely on digital manufacturing, which uses a digital twin to connect a product digitally at all stages in its lifecycle.

In addition, production machines can be used in the manufacturing execution system‘s local network to receive orders, report progress, access work instructions and interact with quality and traceability systems. Plant floor workers can more readily see important information such as instructions, schedules, quality data, inventory status and demand changes.

In the vision of a fully connected smart factory, each facility is linked to the others and the entire enterprise is linked across departments and externally to customers and suppliers. In this way, needs and activities can be monitored and collaboration is enabled across the extended enterprise to increase speed and efficiency.

Smart factory benefits and challenges

Given that one of the most fundamental characteristics of a smart factory is its connectedness, sensors are critical to linking devices, machines and systems to provide data needed to make real-time decisions. In a similar way that smart home devices accomplish routine actions like dimming lights at a certain time or triggering alerts when something is amiss, the ideal smart factory runs itself on a much larger scale, self-correcting where appropriate and alerting for human intervention where needed. In addition, the extensive amount of data provides real-time insight to supply chain stakeholders, both inside the factory and to the business and partners. In this way, agility can increase exponentially and issues can be addressed proactively. Already, IoT technologies have helped to monitor industrial operations, provide supply chain visibility and predict equipment downtime.

Source: Techtarget

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