The ‘smart factory’ represents a move from the traditional automation of the past to connected systems that makes use of data to cope with increasing business demands. A smart factory should be flexible and able to optimize its own performance, self-adapt in real-time, and run entire production processes by itself. Smart factories can operate on-premise, but could also connect to a global network of similar systems.
Manufacturing has always involved high-speed decision making, constant change and data. It’s now a connected, complex manufacturing world, with increasing cost and value in incorporating connectivity into new machines. This is a challenge and an opportunity, giving rise to concepts like Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT).