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What is Industry 4.0?
There seem to be a lot of different views on Industry 4.0, but my take on it is a way of collecting data and supplying it to software systems which use it to analyse performance and make decisions with intelligence built into those software systems.

Only when the decision is outside the scope of the software does it ask for human decision making to step in.
I theory this is great, but most of us have heard "computer says no" and we end up without solution at all! I expect like me you have shouted at your Alexa when it can't understand you!
Systems need to be designed very carefully for the intelligent decisions to work correctly and I think it makes sense to go in small steps, proving each out thoroughly to ensure reliability. An industrial environment is very different to a domestic environment and machines and systems need to be very reliable if there is to be a genuine increase in productivity.
Automation with robots and handling systems is reliable now, but it is the software that controls the rest of the business from order intake, customer relationships, processing manufacturing across different manufacturing plants, maintaining high quality, on time delivery and generally exceeding the customer’s expectations is where things can go very right or very wrong.
I have been hearing about UMATI where a host of manufacturers are collaborating on common and secure communications protocols. This is a very important step and hopefully will make it possible for some very clever software systems to be introduced. 
Perhaps industry specific solutions could be valuable. Companies in each industry, for example sheet metal or additive or machining have some very specific knowledge and they may be best placed to provide software packages that will best meet the needs of manufacturers.  On the other hand smaller enterprises can provide lower cost solutions and often come up with an innovation that the larger companies don't have the imagination or agility to develop quickly.
I think a lot of Industry 4.0 will revolve around the sensors on machines and the information they can provide. I have just been looking at a press release from Roemheld about the sensors on its clamps, which can report back on clamping forces.

These figures can presumably be used to pick up anomolies where the force is much too low or high and software connected to that can use the data to evaluate or debug process problems. The article is here

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