Industry 4.0 affects everybody involved in the life cycle of a machine or product. Most importantly from the perspective of Eureka! readers, it starts with design engineers who have to know how to design equipment for this digital manufacturing world, or design the products that are going to be made in it. Furthermore the engineer no longer starts with the metaphorical blank sheet of paper as inputs from the producer, user and maintainer of that product will have defined some of the parameters before its design can even start.
There is much confusion and in this issue we aim to help demystify the topic and even enthuse those engineers who have switch off to Industry 4.0 so far, by launching a major series of articles under the banner ‘Insight to Industry 4.0’. Our cover story this month introduces the topic with the views of some of the major automation companies who are both users and suppliers of this technology.
One thing they all agreed on was the critical role of the design engineer if Industry 4.0 implementation is to be successful. Hopefully our articles will define the reasons for this and the opportunities that lie ahead.