What is a smart factory?

The smart factory is a modern concept of Industry 4.0 in which machines, plants and production processes are networked and optimized by advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). The idea behind a smart factory is to enable highly automated, flexible and efficient production that monitors itself and continuously improves.

How does a smart factory work?

  1. Data collection data is collected continuously by means of sensors, for example. Examples of the data collected are: Temperature, pressure, energy consumption, machine running time.

  2. Data analysis With the help of AI and Big Data, the collected data is analyzed to identify patterns and trends. Based on this analysis, decisions are made to optimize the production process.

  3. Automation The decisions made based on the data analysis are passed on to the equipment and machines in the production environment to automate the production process.

What technologies does a smart factory use?

Smart factories can be very flexible in making changes to processes to improve them. Some technologies used in a smart factory are:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)

  • Machine Learning

  • Big Data

  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

  • Virtual Reality (VR)

  • Augmented Reality (AR)

What are the advantages of a smart factory?

  1. Increased productivity Productivity can be increased in a smart factory through the use of automated production processes and real-time data analysis.

  2. Increased product quality In a smart factory, the quality of products can be improved by permanently monitoring and controlling production processes. Errors and defects can thus be quickly detected and corrected, resulting in higher product quality.

  3. Increased flexibility A smart factory can adapt very quickly to new requirements and changes. Production can thus be adapted quickly to respond to changes in the market or to new production requirements.

  4. Reduced costs A smart factory can help reduce production costs by automating and continuously optimizing processes. For example, real-time analysis of data can be used to make cost comparisons between different production processes to identify the most efficient process.

  5. Improved safety A smart factory can improve the safety of employees and products. By constantly monitoring and analyzing data, hazards and risks can be identified and mitigated at an early stage.

  6. Sustainability A smart factory can reduce the waste of resources and the associated environmental impact by optimizing energy consumption and reducing the use of materials.

You will find further explanations of terms in our glossary