Deconstructing Industry 4.0: Defining the Smart Factory

Casper Schou*, Michele Colli, Ulrich Berger, Astrid Heidemann Lassen, Ole Madsen, Charles Møller, Brian Vejrum Wæhrens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review


The advent of the industrial digital transformation and the related technologies of the Industry 4.0 agenda has uncovered new concepts and terminology in the manufacturing domain. Clear definitions represent a solid foundation for supporting the manufacturing research community in addressing this field consistently. This paper addresses this need focusing on the “smart factory”. Starting from a review of the extant literature and integrating it with the outcome of a Delphi study, we propose a new definition of a “smart factory” and discuss its key characteristics. These are related to interconnectivity capabilities and adaptability to the surrounding environment in order to generate and appropriate value. Eventually, such characteristics are exemplified in an empirical context. The aim of this paper is to provide the research community with an updated definition of a smart factory taking both industrial and societal values into account. Furthermore, it may represent a reference for practitioners engaged in the digital transformation of their factories.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication8th Changeable, Agile, Reconfigurable and Virtual Production Conference : CARV2021
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Aug 2021


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