Industry 4.0 is expected to deliver significant gains in productivity by assimilating several technological advancements including cloud computing, the Internet-of-Things, and smart devices. However, it is unclear how these technologies should be leveraged together to deliver the promised benefits. We present the architecture design of an information system that integrates these technologies to support hybrid manufacturing processes, i.e., processes in which human and robotic workers collaborate. We show how well-structured architecture design is the basis for a modular, complex cyber-physical system that provides horizontal, cross-functional manufacturing process management and vertical control of heterogenous work cells. The modular nature allows the extensible cloud support enhancing its accessibility to small and medium enterprises. The information system is designed as part of the HORSE Project: a five-year research and innovation project aimed at making recent technological advancements more accessible to small and medium manufacturing enterprises. The project consortium includes 10 factories to represent the typical problems encountered on the factory floor and provide real-world environments to test and evaluate the developed information system. The resulting information system architecture model is proposed as a reference architecture for a manufacturing operations management system for Industry 4.0. As a reference architecture, it serves two purposes: (1) it frames the scientific inquiry and advancement of information systems for Industry 4.0 and (2) it can be used as a template to develop commercial-grade manufacturing applications for Industry 4.0.
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