The merging of the virtual and the physical worlds through cyber-physical systems and the resulting fusion of technical processes and business processes are leading the way to a new industrial age best defined by the "smart factory" concept.
The deployment of cyber-physical systems in production systems gives birth to the "smart factory." Smart factory products, resources and processes are characterized by cyber-physical systems; providing significant real-time quality, time, resource, and cost advantages in comparison with classic production systems.
The smart factory is designed according to sustainable and service-oriented business practices. These insist upon adaptability, flexibility, self-adaptability and learning characteristics, fault tolerance, and risk management.
High levels of automation come as standard in the smart factory - this being made possible by a flexible network of cyber-physical system-based production systems which, to a large extent, automatically oversee production processes.
Flexible production systems which are able to respond in almost real-time conditions allow in-house production processes to be radically optimized. Production advantages are not limited solely to one-off production conditions, but can also be optimized according to a global network of adaptive and self-organizing production units belonging to more than one operator.
This represents a production revolution in terms of both innovation and cost and time savings and the creation of a "bottom-up" production value creation model whose networking capacity creates new and more market opportunities.
Smart factory production brings with it numerous advantages over conventional manufacture and production. These include:
- CPS-optimized production processes: smart factory "units" are able to determine and identify their field(s) of activity, configuration options and production conditions as well as communicate independently and wirelessly with other units;
- Optimized individual customer product manufacturing via intelligent compilation of ideal production system which factors account product properties, costs, logistics, security, reliability, time, and sustainability considerations;
- Resource efficient production;
- Tailored adjustments to the human workforce so that the machine adapts to the human work cycle.
Smart factories, with their interfaces to smart mobility, smart logistics, and smart grids concepts, are an integral component of tomorrow’s intelligent infrastructures.
Industry 4.0 smart factory pipeline (cloud-based secure networks) | © GTAI Source: Industry 4.0 smart factory pipeline (cloud-based secure networks) | © GTAI