Industry 4.0 in a Nutshell

Industry 4.0 in a Nutshell

Article written by Mansur Akbulut, an Erasmus+ Intern from Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt Üniversitesi. Mansur is an intern with eSkills Malta Foundation.

Mansur Akbulut

Some inventions in history have affected the industrial developments directly and started a new era by ending another one. Mankind has started to name these eras with the numbers. According to the majority, we are currently living in the 4th Industrial Era, which is also known as Industry 4.0. Some countries, on the other hand, say they are living in the 5th Industrial Era. As you see, there is no certainty about names. This article will assume that the 4th Industrial Era is the last one and will give basic information about the term Industry 4.0.

First, we need to understand what happened before the Industry 4.0 concept. The production processes were changed on large scale after the development of steam machines in the 17th century. After 2 centuries, some brand-new innovations such as electrical drives, combustion engines, and the innovative assembly line production systems paved the way for the second industrial revolution. Then the third industrial revolution was born with the development of tremendous automation systems in production processes (Pfohl, Yahsi and Kurnaz, 2015). On the way of the new industrial era, in November 2011, an article about the Industry 4.0 concept was published for the first time by the German government within the scope of high-tech strategy for 2020. Term Industry 4.0 came in sight again at a fair in Hannover, Germany, and quickly became the national strategy for Germany (Zhou, Liu and Zhou, 2015). Although term Industry 4.0 has appeared in Germany, similar terms such as Industrial Internet, Connected Enterprise, SMART Manufacturing, Smart Factory, Manufacturing 4.0, Internet of Everything and Internet of Things for Manufacturing can be seen in the literature (Sniderman, Mahto and Cotteleer, 2016).

So, what does Industry 4.0 mean? Industry 4.0 includes a lot of development trends based on Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) for future industries to create powerful intelligence in manufacturing processes (Zhou, et al., 2015). It aims to implement decentralized and entirely digital control on processes or even self-organized structure to create a more efficient, flexible and customized production by connecting people, machines, and systems (Prifti, Knigge, Kienegger and Krcmar, 2017).

Industry 4.0 has appeared as a result of information, communication, the Internet, sensor (data collection), automation, artificial intelligence and robotic technologies, which are intensely influencing and transforming production processes (Eldem, 2017).

The building blocks of the fourth industrial revolution can be shown as Internet of Things(IoT), Big Data and Analytics, Simulation, Cyber Security, Autonomous Robots, Cloud Computing, Additive Manufacturing, Augmented Reality, Cloud Computing, and Cyber Security (Sniderman, et al., 2016). Machines, objects, and systems that communicate with each other through the use of these technologies provide benefits such as analyzing and understanding production issues, then solving them with minimum human participation, as well as enabling the automation of production lines (Tjahjono, Esplugues, Ares and Pelez 2017). Industry 4.0 will significantly affect people’s work environments. When advanced technologies are implemented in enterprises, processes such as purchasing, production, sales, and maintenance will change, and business value creation will increase (Prifti, et al., 2017).

It seems we will see more production areas adopted the Industry 4.0 concept in the near future. Correspondingly, the intensive use of technology in the industries paves the way for new jobs and skills. The decreasing rate of human participation in production will push people to shift from being a white collar to being a technical person.


Eldem, M. (2017). Endüstri 4.0. ENDÜSTRİ 4.0 TMMOB EMO ANKARA ŞUBESİ HABER BÜLTENİ, 2017
Pfohl, H., Yahsi, B. & Kurnaz, Y. (2015). The Impact of Industry 4.0 on the Supply Chain. Hamburg International Conference of Logistics (HICL), 28 Dec 2015, At Hamburg, Germany.
Prifti, L., Knigge, M., Kienegger, H. & Krcmar, H. (2017). A Competency Model for “Industrie 4.0” Employees. Conference: Wirtschaftsinformatik (WI) 2017, At St. Gallen, Switzerland.
Sniderman, B., Mahto,M. & Cotteleer, M. (2016). Industry 4.0 and Manufacturing Ecosystems: Exploring the World of Connected Enterprises. Deloitte University Press, 22 February 2016, New York, United States.
Zhou, K., Liu, T. & Zhou, L. (2015). Industry 4.0: Towards Future Industrial Opportunities and Challenges. 12th International Conference on Fuzzy Systems and Knowledge Discovery (FSKD), 15-17 Aug. 2015, Zhangjiajie, China.