What is Industry 4.0 & How Does it Work?

What could you achieve for your business by optimizing operations? Maximize the impact of your digital transformation initiatives and goals by connecting machines and people in real-time with Industry 4.0 solutions from PTC. <br /> Through automation and real-time analytics, you’ll see the power of true enterprise-wide connectivity. Embrace these initiatives in your business to drive efficiency, differentiate your offerings, and help you outperform your competition.<br/><br/> <img alt="" src="https://ptc-p-001.sitecorecontenthub.cloud/api/public/content/1d40790996ce4fc3beb93bb97bd39f38?v=2ae96255" style="width: 500px; height: 250px;" />

What is Industry 4.0?


Industry 4.0 is the next step in the evolution of manufacturing, based on the idea that machines should be able to communicate with each other and work together to create new products and services. Also known as the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 solutions are already changing the way we live and work forever—and making a huge impact on the world economy. Industry 4.0 is the application of technology to digitally transform how industrial companies operate. These technologies include the industrial IoT, automation and robotics, predictive maintenance, simulation, additive manufacturing, and IoT analytics. Industry 4.0 is driven by a need to boost efficiency, become more agile to respond to market unpredictability, improve quality, and to enable new business models.

The term was coined by Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. Our manufacturing solutions today have advanced far past where the industrial revolution got its start—and companies like yours are reaping the benefits of digital transformation initiatives today from this evolution.

Evolution of Industry 4.0

First Industrial Revolution

Marked by a transition from hand production and animal power to machines utilizing steam and water power, the First Industrial Revolution started in 1760. The first adoptees of this revolution were the textile manufacturing, iron, agriculture, and mining industries.

Second Industrial Revolution

The Technological Revolution started a century later in 1871, introducing the installation of extensive railroad and telegraph networks. These advancements allowed factories to develop the modern production line, bringing mass production and some degree of automation to the manufacturing process.

Third Industrial Revolution

By the late 20th century, the Digital Revolution started. After the end of the second world war, computers, advanced telecommunications, and data analysis were developed. In the factory, digitization began by embedding programmable logic controllers (PLCs) into equipment to automate processes and begin data collection.

Fourth Industrial Revolution

In 2011 the German government used the term “Industrie 4.0” to describe a manufacturing digitization project. It quickly evolved to become a set of recommendations for implementing technology, jumpstarting digital transformation at scale.

Scale Industry 4.0

Benefits of Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is the new era of manufacturing, combining technology, robotics, artificial intelligence, and automation to create an efficient and effective manufacturing process. Investing in new technologies—where digital solutions transform your physical operations—means keeping the benefits for the organization at the forefront of your strategy. When it comes to Industry 4.0 digital transformation in your factory, your business can achieve increased productivity and efficiency, higher quality and output, and improved safety across your lines, assemblies, plants, and factories.

Enhanced machine monitoring through industrial connectivity means less unplanned downtime for unforeseen incidents, increasing your overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Increased machine efficiency for increase capacity utilization can mean faster changeovers, all helping to speed up new product introductions. Removing the traditional silos that run manufacturing plants with Industry 4.0 technologies can help improve collaboration and knowledge sharing for increased agility and flexibility in your workforce. Even operational cost reductions are within reach—especially when systems integration and data management solutions lead to less production line downtime, increased quality, and, as a result, less resource, materials, and product waste.

Learn how PTC customers are already achieving these benefits of Industry 4.0 transformations:

Up to

Up to

increase in operator productivity

increase in operator productivity

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Up to

increase in OEE

increase in OEE

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Up to

reduction in downtime

reduction in downtime

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Up to

decrease in changeover time

decrease in changeover time

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Up to

reduction in scrap and rework costs

reduction in scrap and rework costs

Smart manufacturing use cases

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Plant benchmarking

Improve data collection and analysis across plants, equipment, lines, and more. Get a clearer picture of performance and make more meaningful improvements. Learn More
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Increase workforce productivity

Adopt technology to empower your most valuable asset: the frontline employees on your factory floor. Supercharge your digital workforce for massive efficiency gains. Learn More
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Improve OEE

Digital manufacturing can discover previously unmeasured KPIs to find—and solve—hidden inefficiencies. Minimize avoidable CAPEX, prevent downtime, and accelerate changeover. Learn More
Learn More

Extend digital thread into the factory

Begin manufacturing in parallel with engineering and remain updated with access and visibility to the latest design changes. Accelerate production and reduce non-quality costs via a seamless digital thread. Learn More

Industry 4.0 solutions

PTC's digital manufacturing solution suite brings together out-of-the-box solutions powered by leading industrial IoT and augmented reality technology platforms and is designed to make a successful move to smart manufacturing. From unlocking the value of IIoT and AR with digital twin technology to improve enterprise asset management, these solutions can better enable your teams to accelerate digital transformation. Discover how the following solutions will deliver efficiency, productivity, and profit across your business.

ThingWorx digital performance management

Digital Performance Management helps identify, prioritize, act on, and monitor problem-solving opportunities for the greatest potential P&L impact.

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ThingWorx connected work cell

Connected Work Cell streamlines how information is delivered to frontline workers by aggregating critical data from multiple data silos into a simplified visual application.

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ThingWorx asset monitoring and utilization

Asset monitoring and utilization help manufacturers connect to existing assets, remotely monitor them in real-time, generate alerts based on abnormal conditions, and deliver critical insights with data trending and analysis tools.

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Industry 4.0 technologies

Industrial IoT

Empower your teams with real-time insights and visibility into people, product, equipment, and performance data with industrial IoT. See how industrial connectivity can transform your factory operations and help deliver double-digit impact.

Explore IIot

AI and machine learning

Detect failure signals, make critical service decisions, and prevent unplanned downtime with industrial artificial intelligence. Read how AI and machine learning can help build better predictive models.

Explore AI and Machine Learning

Digital twin

Digital twins are emerging as the best way for enterprises to transform the way they make sense of data and compound value from digital transformation initiatives. Learn why this is a strategic imperative for digital transformation.

Explore Digital Twin

Computer-aided design

Improve how your engineering team designs for manufacturability to help reduce operational costs of production. Design, develop, and document innovative products with parametric modeling, generative design, and simulation and analysis tools.

Explore CAD

Augmented reality

Explore how industrial augmented reality solutions can help you improve workforce efficiency and safety. Enhance your training, onboarding, and upskilling programs with augmented work instructions, expert knowledge capture and transfer, and more.

Explore AR

Product lifecycle management

Ensure teams have up-to-date product data that's delivered securely, in context, and managed with data governance and traceability processes. With better product data, teams can reduce time to market, increase productivity, and reduce costs.

Explore PLM

Industry 4.0 resources and further reading

The top three transformative powers of Industry 4.0

Industry experts from PTC, McKinsey, and Rockwell Automation discuss the Industry 4.0 concepts enabling manufacturers to overcome new challenges.

Industry experts from PTC, McKinsey, and Rockwell Automation discuss the Industry 4.0 concepts enabling manufacturers to overcome new challenges.

Understanding the Industry 4.0 Maturity Index

Read Acatech’s in-depth research to learn how you can build your own Industry 4.0 plan for digital transformation.

Read Acatech’s in-depth research to learn how you can build your own Industry 4.0 plan for digital transformation.