Industry 4.0 and the Contribution of Clusters for the Advancing I4.0
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (I4.0)
Industry 4.0, or the fourth industrial revolution (14.0), as it is otherwise known, is seen by some as a business model’s transformation, by others as a state-sponsored vision of modem manufacturing, as a disruption in production processes or a fusion of cyber and real worlds (Kagennann, Wahlster & Helbig, 2013; Smit, Kreutzer, Moeller & Carlberg, 2016). This term is narrower than the general megatrend of digitalisation as it refers to the broadly understood manufacturing processes. 14.0 often applied synonymously—Smart Manufacturing, Smart Production or the Internet of Things—has been identified as substantial pillars of the digital and automated manufacturing environment (Kamble, Gimasekaran & Gawankar, 2018). 14.0 encompasses a variety of technologies, which allow for the development of the value chains, ensuing reduced manufacturing lead times, better product quality and organisational performance. I4.0’s related developments have given rise to much interest in recent literature. However, few systematic reviews seek to capture the dynamic nature of this topic (Maresova et al., 2018; Pereira, Santos & Cleto, 2018; Benitez, Ferreira Lima, Lennan & Frank, 2019). 14.0 seen as a business-to-business (B2B) interface of digital transformation stands for disruptive innovation in production systems or a set of ground-breaking technologies transforming the markets. It is also perceived in terms of modem industrial policy. 14.0 refers to a radical change in production technology (Schuh, Potente, Wesch-Potente, Weber & Prote, 2014; Strange & Zucchella, 2017; Philbeck & Davis, 2019). Although the effects of this change will be characterised as revolutionary, when considered in retrospect, their' impact on existing manufacturing operations will be more gradual (Szalavetz, 2019). The path to the 14.0 model will, therefore, be an evolutionary one.
The cyber-physical systems (CPS), or cyber-physical production systems (CPPS), also called intelligent technical systems (ITSs), form the basis of 14.0 (Gouarderes, 2016; Roblek, Mesko & Krapez, 2016; Brettel, Fried- erichsen, Keller & Rosenberg, 2014; Hermann, Pentek & Otto, 2015). 14.0
stands for embedded systems, which are crucial for advanced specialised production for factoiy outfitters and technology leaders. Thanks to ITS, value chains can be re-organised, monitored and controlled (Htither, 2016; Liao, Descliamps, de Freitas, Louies & Ramos, 2017; Mauyika et al„ 2016; RuBmann et al., 2015). Investments in 14.0 can translate into more sustainability, thanks to facilitating eco-efficiency and contributing to the circular economy (De Marclii & Di Maria, 2019). ITSs are complex products that build upon the interaction between information technology and engineering, with software components integrated into machinery and equipment. ITS needs to be adaptive, robust, predictive and user-friendly, and then it will allow various benefits to unfold. Resources are used more efficiently, and production can be individualised and customised. Reliability, safety and availability of products are enhanced, the development installation and management improved and products get new functionalities (Industrie 4.0, Studie BITKOM; Industrie 4.0, smart manufacturing for the future, 2014; International: Industry 4.0 will arrive unevenly, 2016).
MAKERS experts (www.makers-rise.org/about/) advocate a modified approach to 14.0 as a new way of organising production between firms, as well as new business models, but also new ways of communicating with consumers and users, along with new ways of using and consuming products. Economy 4.0 means that various stakeholders—workers, employers, communities, films and consumers engage in consumption and production. EU-wide 14.0 should be seen as a cross-cutting agenda. Reischauer (2018) argues for viewing 14.0 as a policy-driven discourse, which aims at institutionalising innovation systems, as presented by a triple helix, i.e. made up of business, academia and politics.
There is no official universal classification of 14.0 activities and related technologies in the literature (Santos, Mehrsai, Banos, Araujo & Ares, 2017; Ciffolilli & Muscio, 2018). Nevertheless, as a proxy of 14.0, the key enabling technologies (KETs) can be adopted, including Additive Manufacturing, Augmented Reality Simulation Horizontal/Yertical Integration, Cloud or Big Data and Analytics. Based on data on European regions’ participation in the 7th Framework Programme, Ciffolilli and Muscio (2018) reveal that Gennany is a solitary leader in 14.0 research and technology development, both in teims of project co-ordination and involvement, enjoying broader participation of national firms in collaborative endeavours. Hence, it seems reasonable to focus the exploration on the German case, and in particular, on the German 14.0 clusters.