Imagine a world in which engineers can interact with 3D models in an immersive environment, where machines and products communicate with each other, and where products wend their way independently through the production process. This is Industry 4.0, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, defined as the convergence of digital and physical technologies disrupting the manufacturing industry and being realized today in smart factories across the globe.

Automation Alley, Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, identifies Industry 4.0 as a collection of eight emerging technology sectors, all of which require new ways of thinking and working: 

  • The Industrial Internet of Things
  • Big Data 
  • Robotics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Additive Manufacturing & Advanced Materials
  • Modeling, Simulation, Visualization & Immersion 
  • Cloud Computing 
  • Cybersecurity


Right now, in factories around the globe, manufacturers are attempting to wrap their heads around the magnitude of change involved with Industry 4.0. The Fourth Industrial Revolution of connected, smart factories, is creating new ways to design and produce products, changing the way companies operate and revolutionizing the role humans will play in the labor economy.

According to the World Economic Forum, 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that currently do not exist. 

Humans are programmed to invent and create, and to always progress. Industry 4.0 has opened the flood gates of innovation, creating both immense opportunities and great challenges for an industry that now must rethink, retool and rebuild the way they do business.

Automation Alley’s role is to help manufacturers increase revenue, reduce costs and think strategically during this time of rapid technological change. 

Automation Alley’s Primary Industry 4.0 Initiatives:

How to get involved:

Foundation Members