There are various areas of focus that define a Factory 4.0. It is important to establish or increase adaptability and flexibility through standardized interfaces, modular system elements, plug-and-produce solutions, and the avoidance of rigid structures. Failure to do so means that there is no guarantee of future competitiveness. In addition, an intelligent building can be created through the interaction of sensors and actuators, predictive maintenance, smart building materials, and indoor positioning systems, all of which can contribute significantly to an optimized value chain. Together with an efficient approach to resources and energy, a focus on people and the design of working environments are further aspects that play a role in future-proof factories.
Transparency at all levels thanks to digital technology and complete networking of factory systems are milestones on the way to fully exploiting the advantages of a smart factory: the ability to handle increasingly complex products and production, the optimal integration of new technologies, resource efficiency and reduced use of materials, jobs that are appropriate for people of different ages (including older workers), and smooth cooperation between people, technology, and the organization as a whole. Of course, another crucial benefit is the increase in added value.