Industry 4.0: Implications for the Asia Pacific Manufacturing Industry


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Introduction to Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 refers to a new level of organization and control of the entire value chain, across the life cycle of products. Seen as the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 seeks to merge physical and virtual worlds. This marks a significant change in the level of complexity from the third industrial revolution, where electronics and information technology were used to automate production. A brainchild of the German government, Industry 4.0 is currently widely used across the manufacturing industry in Europe, especially Germany. It is being selectively deployed across industries in the United States, but as a region, Asia Pacific has some way to go before Industry 4.0 makes an impact in the production line. Its prominence cannot be over emphasized in a world where each customer has a different preference or requirement. The increasing use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the manufacturing sector has meant that there is not a clear distinction between virtual and real world.

Industry 4.0 in Asia Pacific— A Long Way to Go

Since Industry 4.0 integrates most parts of the value chain, its implementation will influence all elements in the production. One of the keys to successfully transitioning into an Industry 4.0 environment is to ensure a robust IT infrastructure. Unfortunately, most countries in the Asia Pacific region are not in a position to guarantee IT infrastructure that can support the digital transformation to Industry 4.0. Many countries have discrete elements of IT systems in place, but not at a level that helps them effectively use Industry 4.0. Clearly, the objective must not be to introduce or superimpose technologies on the existing set up. This is because the priorities set by business segments towards implementing such systems and introducing changes will be different.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of SMT Magazine.

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