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Industry 4.0

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 refers to the fourth industrial revolution and is related to industry, although it is concerned with areas that are not usually classified as industry applications in their own right, such as smart cities.

What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The first industrial revolution came with the advent of mechanisation, steam power and water power, which was followed by the second industrial revolution that revolved around mass production and electricity. The third industrial revolution came with electronic and I.T. systems and automation, which led to the fourth industrial revolution that is associated with cyber physical systems.

TWI Annual Digital Manufacturing Conference - 20 November 2019

TWI is holding the annual Digital Manufacturing Conference on 20 November 2019 at our headquarters near Cambridge. The event will include a focus on Industry 4.0  and how it can be applied to joining technologies and wider industry as a whole.

The conference will include speakers from Ford, BAE Systems, ABB, Lancaster University, Vodafone and more, as well as offering networking opportunities with fellow professionals and a chance to tour TWI's world-leading facilities. 

Early booking is advised for this free event.

Register to find out more

Industry 4.0 Technologies

Generally-speaking, Industry 4.0 describes the growing trend towards automation and data exchange in technology and processes within the manufacturing industry, including:

  • The internet of things (IoT)
  • The industrial internet of things (IIoT)
  • Cyber-physical systems (CPS)
  • Smart manufacture
  • Smart factories
  • Cloud computing
  • Cognitive computing
  • Artificial intelligence

This automation creates a manufacturing system whereby the machines in factories are augmented with wireless connectivity and sensors to monitor and visualise an entire production process and make autonomous decisions.

Wireless connectivity and the augmentation of machines will be greatly advanced with the full rollout of 5G, which will provide faster response times, allowing for near real time communication between systems.

Industry 4.0 diagram

Industry 4.0 also relates to digital twin technologies that can create virtual versions of real-world installations, processes and applications, which can then be robustly tested in order to make cost-effective decentralised decisions.

These virtual copies can then be created in the real world and linked, via the internet of things, to allow cyber-physical systems to communicate and cooperate with each other and human staff in real time to create a joined up data exchange and automation process for manufacturing. This automation includes interconnectivity between processes, information transparency and technical assistance for decentralised decisions.

In short, Industry 4.0 should allow for digital transformation, enabling automated and autonomous manufacturing with joined-up systems that can cooperate with each other to solve problems and monitor processes while increasing productivity.

What is an Example of the Industry 4.0 Revolution?

Industry 4.0 has already been demonstrated through business models such as offline programming and adaptive control for arc welding, taking the process from product design through simulation and onto the shop floor for production. There are also examples of businesses implementing Industry 4.0 in automotive manufacture and a variety of smart factories across the world.

Industry 4.0 at TWI

TWI has been exploring Industry 4.0, with a particular focus on its application to joining and associated technologies. Digital manufacturing is a key area for development through TWI projects and industrial case studies.

These projects include those related to areas such as rapid prototypingelectronics and sensors, and also digital twin for inspection purposes.

TWI’s expertise means that we remain at the forefront of this emerging array of processes, technologies and applications across a variety of industry sectors.

What are the Details of Industry 5.0?

Industry 5.0 is already being spoken about and involves robots and smart machines allowing humans to work better and smarter.  

Esben Østergaard, Universal Robots chief technology officer and co-founder, explained, “Industry 5.0 will make the factory a place where creative people can come and work, to create a more personalised and human experience for workers and their customers."

By connecting the way in which man and machine work together, estimates say that Industry 5.0 will mean that over 60% of manufacturing, logistics and supply chains, agri-farming, and the mining and oil and gas sectors will employ chief robotics officers by 2025. 

The European Economic Social Committee asserts that "The proliferation of robotic automation is inevitable.”

Further Information

For more information please email:


contactus@twi.co.uk