Special Issue "Managing Innovation and Sustainable Development in the Era of Industry 4.0"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Applied Industrial Technologies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Piera Centobelli
Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, Naples 80125, Italy
Interests: operations management; logistics and supply chain management; decision support systems; knowledge management; technology management; Industry 4.0; environmental sustainability; circular economy; triple bottom line; manufacturing; production planning and control; digital transformation; digital factory; big data and analytics; blockchain; complex industries
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Wael Elgaraihy
Website
Co-Guest Editor
College of Applied Studies and Community Service, IMAM ABDULRAHMAN BIN FAISAL, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Interests: operations management; supply chain performance measurement; practice-based supply chain sustainability; logistics and supply chain management; closed-loop supply chain; financial, social, and environmental sustainability; circular economy; manufacturing; production planning and control; blockchain

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Industry 4.0 paradigm is revolutionizing service and manufacturing industries, exploiting the adoption of innovative digital technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), cyber-physical systems (CPS), artificial intelligence (AI), big data and analytics, cloud computing, robotics, augmented reality, and additive manufacturing. All companies and supply chain functions (e.g., purchasing, manufacturing, and logistics) are facing this revolution, and the digital innovations are offering new internationalization opportunities for individual firms and supply chains. In this evolving scenario, supply firms are going to see radical changes, forcing them to improve their standard in product/process design. Key factors in this transition are: high flexibility, dynamic and circular market, increasing customization, high-quality products, flexible batches, sustainable practices, and short product life cycles.

At the same time, the shift towards sustainable supply chain management and development is emerging. The triple bottom line (TBL) expands the traditional framework aimed to improve social and environmental performance in addition to financial ones. The pursuit of the TBL in terms of environmental, financial, and social strategies requires the transformation of the entire supply chain and its operations. Previous studies have shown the importance of considering the three sustainable perspectives simultaneously for the role they play in pursuing sustainable development in both developing and developed countries. With these premises, the main aim of this Special Issue is to investigate the role of the Industry 4.0 paradigm and technologies for the achievement of sustainable development, TBL, circular economy, internationalization, and collaboration opportunities.

Prof. Dr. Piera Centobelli
Prof. Dr. Wael Elgaraihy
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Industry 4.0
  • enabling technologies
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • cyber-physical systems (CPS)
  • artificial intelligence (AI)
  • big data and analytics
  • cloud computing
  • robotics
  • augmented reality
  • additive manufacturing
  • 3D printing
  • manufacturing
  • circular economy
  • sustainability
  • sustainable processes
  • sustainable development goals
  • internationalization
  • triple bottom line
  • supply chain management

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Motivations for the Use of IoT Solutions by Company Managers in the Digital Age: A Romanian Case
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(19), 6905; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10196905 - 01 Oct 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The purpose of our study is to research and identify intrinsic and extrinsic motivations but also their impact on the behavioral intentions of using Internet of Things (IoT) solutions among company managers in Romania in the future. The research method used in the [...] Read more.
The purpose of our study is to research and identify intrinsic and extrinsic motivations but also their impact on the behavioral intentions of using Internet of Things (IoT) solutions among company managers in Romania in the future. The research method used in the quantitative study was the sample survey, using the online questionnaire as a data collection tool. The questionnaire included a formalized set of 54 questions, being specially designed to generate a new structural model starting from the Unified Theory for Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) elements. A total of 416 respondents provided complete and useful answers for this research. The results of the study showed that the endogenous factor intrinsically motivated significantly and strongly affected the intention of managers to use IoT solutions in professional activity compared to the variable of extrinsic motivation whose action remains insignificant. At the same time, the effect of the intrinsic motivation variable was mediated by the significant influence of the endogenous extrinsic motivation factor. The implications of this study are multiple for both managers and researchers. The originality of this article lies in the empirical part of the research, which, by using a quantitative method based on the questionnaire, provides important information on the impact of the motivational spectrum on the acceptance and use of IoT solutions by managers in the next period to achieve new performance, both personal and professional. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Factors in the Relationship between Maintenance Engineering and Knowledge Management
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(8), 2810; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10082810 - 18 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The mechanisms of transmission and management of knowledge are mostly created by maintenance and exploitation activities of large buildings and industrial facilities, but they are poorly studied due to the difficulty capturing themas they belong to tacit knowledge gained by the experience of [...] Read more.
The mechanisms of transmission and management of knowledge are mostly created by maintenance and exploitation activities of large buildings and industrial facilities, but they are poorly studied due to the difficulty capturing themas they belong to tacit knowledge gained by the experience of the maintenance staff. These professionals are highly qualified and are accostumed to solving technical problems even under pressure. The loss of these professionals means losing also an important asset of the company. This article will tackle the importance of the factors that influence knowledge management (KM) in maintenance engineering and its barriers and facilitators. The research is carried out by qualitative investigation on maintenance staff of an industrial company. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Heuristic Solution Method for Multi-Depot Vehicle Routing-Based Waste Collection Problems
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(7), 2403; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10072403 - 01 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper addresses waste collection problems in which urban household and solid waste are brought from waste collection points to waste disposal plants. The collection of waste from the collection points herein is modeled as a multi-depot vehicle routing problem (MDVRP), aiming at [...] Read more.
This paper addresses waste collection problems in which urban household and solid waste are brought from waste collection points to waste disposal plants. The collection of waste from the collection points herein is modeled as a multi-depot vehicle routing problem (MDVRP), aiming at minimizing the total transportation distance. In this study, we propose a heuristic solution method to address this problem. In this method, we firstly assign waste collection points to waste disposal plants according to the nearest distance, then each plant solves the single-vehicle routing problem (VRP) respectively, assigning customers to vehicles and planning the order in which customers are visited by vehicles. In the latter step, we propose the sector combination optimization (SCO) algorithm to generate multiple initial solutions, and then these initial solutions are improved using the merge-head and drop-tail (MHDT) strategy. After a certain number of iterations, the optimal solution in the last generation is reported. Computational experiments on benchmark instances showed that the initial solutions obtained by the sector combination optimization algorithm were more abundant and better than other iterative algorithms using only one solution for initialization, and the solutions with distance gap were obtained using the merge-head and drop-tail strategy in a lower CPU time compared to the Tabu search algorithm. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Smart Alarm Systems for Industry 4.0 Technologies
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(6), 2022; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10062022 - 16 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Traditionally, the footwear industry is labor intensive, and cost control is key to ensuring shoe companies can be competitive. The development of Industry 4.0 concepts, used in high-tech industries and blockchain production information systems, enables the creation of smart factories with online alarm [...] Read more.
Traditionally, the footwear industry is labor intensive, and cost control is key to ensuring shoe companies can be competitive. The development of Industry 4.0 concepts, used in high-tech industries and blockchain production information systems, enables the creation of smart factories with online alarm management systems, to improve manufacturing efficiency and reduce human resource requirements. In this paper, the performances of the causal association assessment model and the technique for order preference by similarity to the ideal solution (TOPSIS) model in evaluating large data blockchain technologies and quality online real-time early warning systems for production and raw material supplier management are compared, to increase the intelligence of production and to manage product traceability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modelling a Safety Management System Using System Dynamics at the Bhopal Incident
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(3), 903; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10030903 - 30 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In a safety management system (SMS), risk management plays a key role for the prevention of accidents. This study aims to propose a safety management model by using a system dynamics approach applied to the Bhopal incident. The model proposed in this paper [...] Read more.
In a safety management system (SMS), risk management plays a key role for the prevention of accidents. This study aims to propose a safety management model by using a system dynamics approach applied to the Bhopal incident. The model proposed in this paper discusses the relationships among the main causes that have contributed to the occurrence of the incident studied, such as broken safety devices, inadequate personnel experience, operator decisions, manager production strategy, policy decision, as deduced from the relevant literature about the Bhopal incident dynamics. The simulation and the results clarify how to manage the key factors to make the plant safe. Moreover, we want to underline how these key modern aspects of safety could be enhanced by using the enabling technologies of industry 4.0. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating Centralized and Heterarchical Control of Smart Manufacturing Systems in the Era of Industry 4.0
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(3), 755; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10030755 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
In light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the concepts of flexibility and re-configurability of manufacturing systems and the evolution of their control architectures are becoming increasingly important. The development of Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) and their flexibility and integrated capabilities have paved the [...] Read more.
In light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the concepts of flexibility and re-configurability of manufacturing systems and the evolution of their control architectures are becoming increasingly important. The development of Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) and their flexibility and integrated capabilities have paved the way to the transition from centralized control to heterarchical (decentralized) control architectures. In this paper, a comparison between centralized and heterarchical control architectures in a virtual learning environment is presented. The control architectures of the assembly station and the materials handling system of modern manufacturing systems have been conceptualized and tested under different working conditions. The results show that centralized control is the best solution only for deterministic and predictable scenarios, which are very far from reality, whereas, in case of failures, a more flexible control is preferable. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Intelligent Monitoring of Data Center Physical Infrastructure
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(23), 4998; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9234998 - 20 Nov 2019
Abstract
This paper presents a new intelligent monitoring and event management method for data center physical infrastructure based on multilayer node event processing. The priorities of highly classified data centers are not only the maintenance of the highest level of reliability and availability of [...] Read more.
This paper presents a new intelligent monitoring and event management method for data center physical infrastructure based on multilayer node event processing. The priorities of highly classified data centers are not only the maintenance of the highest level of reliability and availability of the operation, but also fast, specific event identification and energy consumption monitoring, which altogether improve the level of energy efficiency. The new method, using a tree node for each device, improves information about the events in a specific node. Its major advantage is that in the case of a large number of nodes, it considerably reduces the number of identified events (alarms/alerts) that might be the main cause. Fast event processing lowers data center physical infrastructure operating costs, improving at the same time the level of energy efficiency. The experimental results show that the use of tree nodes significantly reduces the number of unexpected events, the time needed for the main event identification, and the maintenance response time to events. By using event entities processing, multilayer nodes have a significant impact on the efficient operation of data center physical infrastructure. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Semantic Data Management for a Virtual Factory Collaborative Environment
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(22), 4936; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9224936 - 16 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Recent developments in the area of cyber-physical systems (CPSs) and Internet of Things (IoT) are among the drivers for the emergence of the Industry 4.0 concept, setting new requirements for the architecture, technology, and design approaches of modern industrial systems. Industry 4.0 assumes [...] Read more.
Recent developments in the area of cyber-physical systems (CPSs) and Internet of Things (IoT) are among the drivers for the emergence of the Industry 4.0 concept, setting new requirements for the architecture, technology, and design approaches of modern industrial systems. Industry 4.0 assumes a higher level of intelligence, and thus autonomy of the systems and subsystems, and a larger focus on the analysis of gathered data for further utilization. The Virtual Factory Open Operating System (vf-OS) project is intended to respond to some of these key challenges, in particular for the smart factory application domain. Complementarily, data and knowledge storage and processing are also in the scope of vf-OS. This article introduces the semantic management component of vf-OS, which aims to analyze the interrelations among stored entities, as well as to define the closeness among them to generate meaningful suggestions, which can be later used by other subsystems or operators in a user-friendly way. The semantic managing system makes use of non relational approaches, namely a graph database, which enables data to be represented as graphs for further semantic querying. The developed prototype and an illustrative application case are also presented. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Generating Transparency in the Worldwide Use of the Terminology Industry 4.0
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(21), 4659; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9214659 - 01 Nov 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
In 2011, the concept of Industry 4.0 was introduced and later adopted by the German government, paving the way for a new industrial revolution in Germany. The high significance of this topic is reflected by the large number of corresponding publications. Additionally, the [...] Read more.
In 2011, the concept of Industry 4.0 was introduced and later adopted by the German government, paving the way for a new industrial revolution in Germany. The high significance of this topic is reflected by the large number of corresponding publications. Additionally, the regional focus of research is widespread on a global level and often differs even at a national level. This paper generates transparency regarding the adoption of the concept of Industry 4.0 by analyzing the locations of main contributors within the research field on an international, European, and German-national level. Further, it examines the regionally different foci concerning the concept of Industry 4.0. Having identified four main aspects linked to Industry 4.0 within a pre-study, a quantitative literature research was conducted based on over 800 published papers. The results were further visualized with QGIS. Looking at the results, it can be concluded that the German research community is virtually the only user of the term Industry 4.0, while other institutions seem to link their research to other related concepts. On a German level, the majority of the analyzed studies originate from Southern and Western Germany. North Rhine-Westphalia and the Aachen/Jülich region, in particular, represent main contributors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Route Planner Using a Delegate Multi-Agent System for a Modular Manufacturing Line: Proof of Concept
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(21), 4515; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9214515 - 24 Oct 2019
Abstract
Route planning in a multi-agent system (MAS) is still a complex task, especially if there is need for a continuous, decentralized planner of the routes for physical agents in a dynamic environment. It is a planner of this kind that is required in [...] Read more.
Route planning in a multi-agent system (MAS) is still a complex task, especially if there is need for a continuous, decentralized planner of the routes for physical agents in a dynamic environment. It is a planner of this kind that is required in the application the article considers: the transportation of parts at a modular manufacturing line. Such a planner has to meet several difficult requirements, regarding the physical, time-constrained dynamic environment, live-locks and deadlocks, delayed agents, and last needs to minimize the travel time and the total distance traveled. The article proposes an approach using a delegate multi-agent system (D-MAS) in order to meet these requirements. The approach was verified using virtual reality so as to provide a better understanding of the planner’s issues. Several coordination rules were proposed and implemented. As a further verification, the proof-of-concept solution was compared to a non-reservation planner. It was shown, that as the number of agents increases, the approach, including the reservations, outperformed its competitor. Various recommendations for the implementation of the planner were formulated. It was concluded that the performance of the planner is sufficient for its future use. The main objective of article was proof-of-concept and determining the functionality of a prototype based on MAS that was in compliance with a modular manufacturing line developed by us. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Assessing SMEs’ Internationalisation Strategies in Action
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(14), 4743; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10144743 - 09 Jul 2020
Abstract
In this paper, a structured review was conducted to investigate the internationalisation process of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to define barriers and enablers and identify research gaps in this relevant field. Data were collected from two databases of scientific peer-reviewed articles (i.e., [...] Read more.
In this paper, a structured review was conducted to investigate the internationalisation process of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to define barriers and enablers and identify research gaps in this relevant field. Data were collected from two databases of scientific peer-reviewed articles (i.e., Scopus and Web of Science). After the selection process, 161 papers focusing on SMEs’ internalisation were analysed using both descriptive and content analysis. The analysis of the results highlights that SMEs’ internalisation is a growing research field, but different research gaps remain to be filled. These gaps concern barriers, impact on performance, models, and theories related to the different phases of the internationalisation process (e.g., start-up, early entrance, international growth). The future research directions identified interesting suggestions and guidelines for future researchers in the field of SMEs internationalisation. Full article
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