Industry 4.0 as term references to the counted fourth industrial revolution, following the introduction of Steam Engines, the concepts of Mass Production and the Automation by use of Information Technology and Robotics. The term is loaded by the concept of “Cyber-Physical Systems” to differentiate from the preceding phase of electronic Automation.
“Cyber-Physical System” describes the alliance of physical components with additional components through networking or a data infrastructure. The resulting systems shall be able to deal with a high level on complexity.
The basic idea of using “Cyber-Physical Systems” in industrial manufacturing is the reduction of Batch Sizes to lowest possible numbers, if possible “one”. To arrive with a industrial process at this objective in full or partial, a high degree in flexibility of the utilized Production Equipment and the exchange of data with the Business Processes. Including entities external to the Corporation.
This concept opens new possibilities, but also introduces new risk potential. Especially in the area of IT-Security and the resilience of the systems to unwanted or wanted externally introduced disturbances. Also the focus in Industry 4.0 is increased towards working with Data, combination of Data, the interpretation of Data and the direct exchange of Data with automated Production Equipment.
Machines, Appliances, Sensors and Humans can or will be networked in the concept of Industry 4.0. Communication is performed over the Internet of Things or the Internet of Humans.
Digital Data of sensors extend Information System to a digital representation of the real world in Production. From it Assistance Systems are possible to be derived that support Humans in form of aggregates, visualized and comprehensible Information to their Work and supporting their Decision Making Process.
To allow a high autonomy of the resulting Cyber-Physical Systems it requires a higher degree of independent decision finding. Disturbances or Conflicts of Goals trigger involving a higher instance, in this understanding the Human, to be resolved there.