Next Article in Journal
Risk Assessment and Mitigation Model for Overseas Steel-Plant Project Investment with Analytic Hierarchy Process—Fuzzy Inference System
Next Article in Special Issue
An Optimization Approach for the Coordinated Low-Carbon Design of Product Family and Remanufactured Products
Previous Article in Journal
Regeneration of Industrial Facilities into Cultural Facilities in Seoul: Studying Location Value
Previous Article in Special Issue
A Sustainable Decision-Making Framework for Transitioning to Robotic Welding for Small and Medium Manufacturers
Article Menu
Issue 12 (December) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Enhancing Sustainability and Energy Efficiency in Smart Factories: A Review

Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4779;
Received: 24 November 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 11 December 2018 / Published: 14 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Intelligent Manufacturing Systems)
PDF [1193 KB, uploaded 14 December 2018]


With the rapid development of sensing, communication, computing technologies, and analytics techniques, today’s manufacturing is marching towards a new generation of sustainability, digitalization, and intelligence. Even though the significance of both sustainability and intelligence is well recognized by academia, industry, as well as governments, and substantial efforts are devoted to both areas, the intersection of the two has not been fully exploited. Conventionally, studies in sustainable manufacturing and smart manufacturing have different objectives and employ different tools. Nevertheless, in the design and implementation of smart factories, sustainability, and energy efficiency are supposed to be important goals. Moreover, big data based decision-making techniques that are developed and applied for smart manufacturing have great potential in promoting the sustainability of manufacturing. In this paper, the state-of-the-art of sustainable and smart manufacturing is first reviewed based on the PRISMA framework, with a focus on how they interact and benefit each other. Key problems in both fields are then identified and discussed. Specially, different technologies emerging in the 4th industrial revolution and their dedications on sustainability are discussed. In addition, the impacts of smart manufacturing technologies on sustainable energy industry are analyzed. Finally, opportunities and challenges in the intersection of the two are identified for future investigation. The scope examined in this paper will be interesting to researchers, engineers, business owners, and policymakers in the manufacturing community, and could serve as a fundamental guideline for future studies in these areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable manufacturing; sustainability; energy efficiency; smart factory; smart manufacturing; big data; decision-making sustainable manufacturing; sustainability; energy efficiency; smart factory; smart manufacturing; big data; decision-making

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Meng, Y.; Yang, Y.; Chung, H.; Lee, P.-H.; Shao, C. Enhancing Sustainability and Energy Efficiency in Smart Factories: A Review. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4779.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top