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Industrie 4.0 or Industry 4.0?

Industrie 4.0 History

logo_industrie-4-0-smart-platform-sans_baseline-hdIndustrie 4.0 history started in 2006 even though the name was not existing yet and digitization was still far away in the agenda.

At that time Germany was more and more concerned about the massive transfer of production to China, becoming the so-called “World Factory”.

As first exporter in the world, Germany was enthusiastic to export massively cars and industrial equipment to China, but in parallel the German producers were wondering how to maintain the “Made in Germany” exclusivity on global markets.

Cyber-Physical-Systems_CPSIn 2008 the financial crisis revealed how much the industry was a key factor of resilience to preserve the local economies.

In 2010, Germany realized that the Cyber Physical System (CPS) could become the new corner stone of their industry in cutting the times and costs in the value chains.

In 2014, The German Chancellor Angela Merkel jumped on the stage of the Hanover Fair (HMI) to release officially Industrie 4.0 as the engine of the German future of manufacturing.

This initiative triggered responses from all over the world, especially in the manufacturing countries such as China, FranceJapan, South Korea and USA with their respective program as shown in the document below.


Except Japan, most of these responsive initiatives were mainly tax initiatives in favor of the local industry mixing up digitization and robotization programs.

Digitization versus Robotization

The name of Industrie 4.0 was chosen by reference to the fourth industrial revolution whereas:

– First revolution came from the steam replacing horses

– Second revolution combined electricity and line production

– Third revolution saw the computers appearing on the machines, it was the era of the robotization

– Fourth revolution ambitions to connect the machines and things together to be called digitization.

Four_Industrial_RevolutionsAt this stage we can notice that robotization and digitization contribute both to the modernization of the industry but in different ways.

Adding robots and computers on a manufacturing line or a processing plant may improve productivity but only to a certain extend if they are not connected to return data and enable remote control operations, that is where the digitization comes with internet of things (IOT) or industrial internet of things (IIOT) to boost productivity.

Industrie 4.0 and Internet of Things (IOT)

What is the difference between Industrie 4.0 and Internet of Things or IIOT?

IOT or IIOT refers to connecting things or machines together or a person, it is a concept leaving open all kinds of solutions and technologies to do it.

When the trade associations Bitkom, VDMA and ZVEI developed Industrie 4.0 has been developed, they created the architecture, and selected the communication protocols and the standards to do it.

Described as Reference Architecture Model Industrie 4.0 (RAMI 4.0) the proposed architecture offers the capabilities to connect things even though they should come from different sources and design in using administration shell as digital interface.


Anyway this architecture is not intended to be a closed system, but opened in relying on series of international standards through a Standardization Council Industrie 4.0.

This link between Industrie 4.0 and international standards facilitates the adoption of Industrie 4.0 by non-specialists and in opposite way the standardization committees have the opportunity to contribute and influence Industrie 4.0 developments.

In summary we can say that IOT is a concept, while Industrie 4.0 is a methodology to implement IOT in practice enabling to qualify processes, solutions and personnel accordingly.

Alternatively it seems that only Japan with its Industry Value chain Initiative (IVI) and its Industry Value chain Reference Architecture (IVRA) has been able to propose so far qualified technologies and solutions to deploy industrial IOT (IIOT).

But even in the case of IVRA architecture, Japan took care to establish a link with German RAMI 4.0 model.

After China, Japan, Italy, the most important manufacturing countries in the world, adopting the German Industrie 4.0 because of its tangible solutions, we observe the other countries to align in the same way.

Industry 4.0?

Like handball, Industrie 4.0 is a German invention even though it relies on international technologies, protocols and standards.

The word “handball” is pronounced in the German way at the difference with “football” to be pronounced in the English way.

Therefore it makes sens to spell “Industrie 4.0” in the German way.

Moreover, in spelling “Industrie 4.0” in German, the audience or readers take a chance to capture the digitization environment you refer to and gives credit of competence to the author.

Instead the English spelling Industry 4.0 opens the risk to be misunderstood and may rise questions about the references of the topic: is it IOT subject just painted in 4.0 to be more attractive or something more specific, but what?

In conclusion, be tangible and start Industrie 4.0 presentations in the right way.



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2 Comments to “Industrie 4.0 or Industry 4.0?”

  1. Very interesting und useful information for me. I like this reading. Thank you so much.

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