The new presidential administration has brought manufacturing to the forefront of the national conversation once again, and rightfully so. Manufacturing remains the largest sector of the economy in most states, including Michigan.
But what most politicians aren’t discussing is that the manufacturing industry is undergoing a transformation, a revolution of equal magnitude to the first industrial revolution. Industry 4.0 — also known as the fourth industrial revolution — is a term coined by experts to describe the convergence of physical and digital technologies disrupting manufacturing today: the industrial internet of things, autonomous robotics, advanced materials, additive manufacturing, big data, cybersecurity and cloud computing. Manufacturing facilities employing these technologies are known as “smart factories.”