Industry 4.0 is Germany’s vision for the future of manufacturing, a strategy that aims to establish the country as a lead provider and market for advanced manufacturing solutions. It represents the fourth industrial revolution, following mechanisation, mass production, and computerisation. The strategy is centred on the idea of ‘smart factories’, facilities that utilise cyber-physical systems and the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor physical processes, create virtual copies of the physical world, and make decentralised decisions.

The goal of Industry 4.0 is to increase manufacturing productivity, efficiency, speed, and quality, resulting in higher competitiveness for companies on the global market. The strategy also aims to implement new ways of creating value, introducing novel business opportunities, and innovating production. It encourages companies to customise their products to meet specific customer needs, all while maintaining high production speed and low cost.

Industry 4.0 is expected to have significant social impacts. It could lead to changes in work organisation, requiring new strategies for vocational education and training. It also has the potential to disrupt traditional industry value chains, creating new business models and structures. The strategy is backed by a set of guiding principles, including interoperability, information transparency, technical assistance, and decentralised decisions.

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