To understand Industry 4.0 , it is necessary to introduce the following keyword „Cyber Physical Systems“ (CPS) which are the core of this topic.
What does CPS mean?
« Cyber Physical Systems » are intelligent embedded systems, a combination of electronics and software, which are connected to the real world through sensors and actuators, and are also connected to each other and to the internet. Thus, the physical world merges with a virtual world to a cyberspace, which is, according to its definition, a combination of digitalised data, creating a universe of information and communication connected through the internet.
A simple example of CPS is a smartphone, because it combines on one side the connection to the real world via embedded sensors such as geolocalisation sensors or other kind of sensors, and on the other side the connection to a “virtual world”, the IT network or Internet via the wireless end telephony interfaces.
Thanks to its computing capability, a CPS can process the data collected via the sensors before transferring it into the digital space.
In the same way, there are CPS dedicated to the industrial field. They collect physical values like temperature, dimensions, displacement, pressure, force, etc. via different kind of sensors.
Thanks to their computing capabilities, they can process this data with specific algorithms, for for example for predictive maintenance, and transfer them e.g. to a MES.