Industry 4.0 is reshaping manufacturing in the same way that Amazon transformed retailing. The initiative seeks to drive manufacturers and machine builders to integrate all machine automation and machine controller information. By doing so, machine builders can discover new information-based products and identify opportunities to build smarter factories capable of automatically taking corrective or optimizing actions.
To capitalize on the Industry 4.0 trend, machine builders must implement four feature sets which enable the integration of different levels of the manufacturing environment, from sensors to cloud servers. But perhaps an even bigger challenge for machine builders is the transition from traditional hardware-based controller architectures to a smart machine automation software architecture capable of executing on any industrial PC (IPC). Only a software-based machine automation approach can deliver the integration and flexibility demanded by Industry 4.0.