Is the Fourth Industrial Revolution only synonym of digitalization of factories, or of something else as well?
Should the German model of Industry 4.0 be copied in Italy, or should it not? Many experts agree on the necessity of a new shared strategy within the country: where (and how) dothe Italian companies have to act to change the pace, exploiting the benefits of the new technologies?
These questions have been discussed for a while now, in relation to the digitalization of the manufacturing sector, which is now one of the focuses for the innovation policies within the European Commission.
“From the Germans – affirms Marco Taisch, Professor of Advanced & Sustainable Manufacturing and Operation Management of the Politecnico of Milano – we can surely take example, but we have to develop an Italian model. The strategy is there, on paper, we now have to put it into practice, take it out from the cold storage and share it with all the involved stakeholders. The most important thing about Industry 4.0 is its popularity, the fact that it is considered as a model. Even if it’s been four years since it was launched. The technologies have moved forward ever since, and their adoption is only limited to a portion of the German industry, starting from the influential suppliers of automatization”.
Italy, should be able to stand on its own feet, also because it is the second European country in the sector of the production of machine tools. The revolution that is needed in the manufacturing sector is not only the Industry 4.0, and therefore the digitalization of the cores of the factories. It also the shift from the product-logic to service-logic, but it is also about the circular economy, about the adoption of technologies for the management of the entire life cycle of the product/service. People therefore use “circular manufacturing”, a new paradigm that assembles new business and technological models to the principle of the reverse logistics for the productions scraps. The strategy to get to the new manufacturing, thus, is inspired by a neat vision: “the Fourth Industrial Revolution goes through the awareness of the possibilities of improvements by the digital technologies.”.
Talking about improved factories is reasonable in relation to the “additive manufacturing” systems (with the implementation of the 3D printers), but it should not be forgotten that the services linked to the manufacturing, extended to the whole value chain, at times have a higher economic volumethan the production itself, in affecting the GNP. The cry for adoption of the Industry 4.0, therefore, is heard on different levels, not only on the assembly line.