a). The fourth industrial revolution
b). Some term the German government made up
c). A future where robots work without humans
d). “Smart” factories and intelligent production systems
e). The “Industrial Internet of Things”
f). Marketing buzzwords
g). Nobody knows for sure
h). All of the above


If you answered, you are correct. Because all of these answers are correct. No one knows exactly what Industry 4.0 is and no one has been able to precisely define it since the Germans first coined the title for it at an industrial fair in 2011. At the time, they were thinking it was simply the “computerization of manufacturing regarded as the fourth industrial revolution.”

So this article is more of a question than an answer. What is Industry 4.0? What will it mean to manufacturing – increased productivity, reduced operating costs, the elimination of human labor? How will current technologies evolve to play their part –artificial intelligence, robotics, machine vision, software solutions, etc.?

If Industry 4.0 is actually “a thing” then it is likely taking shape right this very moment. And if you’re reading this, you’re probably a part of the revolution. How do you want manufacturing to be different in the future? Every NEFF client and manufacturer has a stake in Industry 4.0. How will we as a group make Industry 4.0 the ‘seismic shift’ in manufacturing that everyone expects it to be?

Well, the first thing we need to do is figure out what the heck it is. So here are a couple links for those of you who’d like to read a few articles about Industry 4.0.

We’ll see you on the other side!