Innovation in manufacturing through digital technologies and applications: Thoughts and Reflections on Industry 4.0

Adel Aneiba, Hanifa Shah, Cham Athwal

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The rapid pace of developments in digital technologies offers many opportunities to increase the efficiency, flexibility and sophistication of manufacturing processes; including the potential for easier customisation, lower volumes and rapid changeover of products within the same manufacturing cell or line. A number of initiatives on this theme have been proposed around the world to support national industries under names such as Industry 4.0 (Industrie 4.0 in Germany, Made-in-China in China and Made Smarter in the UK). This book presents an overview of the state of art and upcoming developments in digital technologies pertaining to manufacturing. The starting point is an introduction on Industry 4.0 and its potential for enhancing the manufacturing process. Later on moving to the design of smart (that is digitally driven) business processes which are going to rely on sensing of all relevant parameters, gathering, storing and processing the data from these sensors, using computing power and intelligence at the most appropriate points in the digital workflow including application of edge computing and parallel processing. A key component of this workflow is the application of Artificial Intelligence and particularly techniques in Machine Learning to derive actionable information from this data; be it real-time automated responses such as actuating transducers or informing human operators to follow specified standard operating procedures or providing management data for operational and strategic planning. Further consideration also needs to be given to the properties and behaviours of particular machines that are controlled and materials that are transformed during the manufacturing process and this is sometimes referred to as Operational Technology (OT) as opposed to IT. The digital capture of these properties and behaviours can then be used to define so-called Cyber Physical Systems. Given the power of these digital technologies it is of paramount importance that they operate safely and are not vulnerable to malicious interference. Industry 4.0 brings unprecedented cybersecurity challenges to manufacturing and the overall industrial sector and the case is made here that new codes of practice are needed for the combined Information Technology and Operational Technology worlds, but with a framework that should be native to Industry 4.0. Current computing technologies are also able to go in other directions than supporting the digital ?sense to action? process described above. One of these is to use digital technologies to enhance the ability of the human operators who are still essential within the manufacturing process. One such technology, that has recently become accessible for widespread adoption, is Augmented Reality, providing operators with real-time additional information in situ with the machines that they interact with in their workspace in a hands-free mode. Finally, two linked chapters discuss the specific application of digital technologies to High Pressure Die Casting (HDPC) of Magnesium components. Optimizing the HPDC process is a key task for increasing productivity and reducing defective parts and the first chapter provides an overview of the HPDC process with attention to the most common defects and their sources. It does this by first looking at real-time process control mechanisms, understanding the various process variables and assessing their impact on the end product quality. This understanding drives the choice of sensing methods and the associated smart digital workflow to allow real-time control and mitigation of variation in the identified variables. Also, data from this workflow can be captured and used for the design of optimised dies and associated processes.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBelmont Press
ISBN (Print)9781527229839
Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 8 Oct 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Innovation in manufacturing through digital technologies and applications: Thoughts and Reflections on Industry 4.0'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this