Gambica Featured Article: Industry 4.0 - Challenges and Opportunities


A key to the successful implementation of Industry 4.0 projects is accessing critical data that may be locked away in existing automation systems. But, as Jan Hemper, Technical Director of Gambica* member InControl Systems, explains, accessing that data can provide opportunities for companies to leapfrog their rivals.

The key to the fourth industrial revolution lies in the connections between people, products and machines. Around the world, companies are striving to capture the benefits of the new wave of technological change. Amid the hype surrounding Industry 4.0, however, it is easy to lose sight of the things that make the latest industrial transformation different from its predecessors and the challenges that this presents.

Fundamentally, Industry 4.0 is underpinned by the idea of connecting digital and physical elements. This can be done by combining real objects, such as products or production machinery, and a collection of software and data, into a system that is entwined together throughout the lifecycle of the object. The value that Industry 4.0 brings is the increased capability to share, analyse and manipulate that data.

For established manufacturing organisations, the data-driven nature of Industry 4.0 is both an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity arises because these organisations already have significant data assets to capitalise on. Most have been running computer-controlled machines and networked automation systems for decades. And their planning, scheduling and manufacturing execution systems are already software-based

* Gambica is the trade association for the automation, control, instrumentation and laboratory technology sectors in the UK. For more information, please contact Gambica on 020 7642 8080 or via