How to enable the Smart Factory of the Future? In order to answer this question, teknowlogy conducted a number of expert interviews among production managers, plant managers, heads of production-related IT, and C-level executives in European manufacturing companies.

To approach this topic, it is important to understand how smart European factories are already today. When we asked the experts about how mature they assessed their plant operations in terms of being “smart” or digitally transformed towards Industry 4.0, most of them referred to their factories’ automation level. So the terms “smart factory” and Industry 4.0 are currently very closely related to automation and the usage of robotics on the shop floor.

Indeed, increasing the levels of automation is clearly a major topic in the smart factory, and in our recently published white paper we will show why. However, we will also demonstrate why it is important for manufacturers to not only focus on further automation, but also to transform shop-floor operations towards a truly smart factory. This will include, on the one hand, further automation in order to increase the efficiency of factory operationsand, on the other hand, another more and more important dimension: progressively complex customer demand, which will have a major impact on the way manufacturers have to plan and run their factory operations in the future.

In this white paper we will also look into how new digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, and cloud can enable a transformation towards a truly smart factory, and we will give examples of use casesthat leverage them. We will particularly focus on those use cases which were the subject of discussion in many of our conversations with expertsin the market and which are currently being tested in the factories or already implemented.

We will conclude with key takeaways and our recommendations on how to transform towards a smart factory of the future.

The white paper “How to Enable the Smart Factory of the Future”, commissioned by L&T Technology Services, can be downloaded free of charge.