Special Issue "Process Industry 4.0: Application Research to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2019)
Industry 4.0 defines the digital revolution in industrial production, developing from the wide-ranging networking and computerization of all areas of production. Equipment, materials, machinery and products can detect processing status and environmental settings through sensors, connect with each other via fixed software and, therefore, improve production processes in a unique way. Furthermore, digital revolution in the production and value creation process reveal new challenges to enterprises. Firms should develop strategies (i) to exploit the innovative opportunities of digitalization; (ii) to expand processes; and (iii) to develop new business models. Given this framework, a good political, legal and infrastructural framework is also necessary to allow businesses to rise to the challenge of Industry 4.0. Although large companies can anticipate the risks of digitalization for their own business models, and have introduced innovation processes, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may be in difficulty. The reasons are multiple; therefore, the purpose is to improve the framework settings, to support structures to facilitate SMEs to meet the challenges of Industry 4.0, and to use the benefits and chances of the fourth industrial revolution.
In parallel with such backgrounds, the outlines of sustainable development must also be followed. For instance, consideration of environmental and energy issues is crucial. Inside the sector of Industry 4.0, “Smart Energy” can be defined as a level of new energy supply systems, focusing on monitoring consumption. These measures make infrastructure more efficient, cheaper and greener. In addition, in the agricultural sector, Industry 4.0 merges with Agriculture 4.0, facilitating technological evolution and refining the activities of Precision Agriculture, as a strategy that is experiencing a second life thanks to the full development of technologies, creating value for all actors in the supply chain thanks to the intelligent use of data. Integrating Agriculture 4.0 with energy efficiency, the increasing demand for energy and related environmental concerns are key drivers for the interest in biomass residues in the agro-forestry sector and in suitable small-scale energy adaptation. Biomass residues (such as prunings, thinnings and forest residues) constitute a promising feed stock with the potential to be converted into convenient end products. In addition to Industry 4.0, there is also the issue of safety in the workplace, which very often remains a borderline theme. Industry 4.0 must also be innovative for these matters, which are essential for operators, guaranteeing their safety during the work process.
The present Special Issue proposal has the overall aim of developing a network around application research to facilitate SMEs to meet the challenge of Industry 4.0. Several targets will be addressed: (i) to define a system of growth based on sustainable development; (ii) to apply the fourth industrial revolution in all economic sectors, primarily in SMEs from industry to agriculture, always guaranteeing the best level of safety for work. In the latter sector, specific attention is paid even promoting energy efficiency and production improvement processes. Furthermore, with this Special Issue, another purpose is to identify best practice and strategies that all stakeholders must adopt. The role of policymakers is crucial for improving a suitable framework setting to support SMEs in Industry 4.0. The final purpose of the present Special Issue is to publish high-quality research contributions, addressing recent advances on systems, technologies, processes, and materials for SMEs. Original and high-quality research papers and review articles, which have not yet been published, or that are not currently under review by other journals or peer-reviewed conferences, are welcome.
Dr. Ilaria Zambon
Dr. Gianluca Egidi
Dr. Fabiano Rinaldi
Dr. Sirio Cividino
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
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. Processes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 1100 CHF (Swiss Francs). Please note that for papers submitted after 30 June 2019 an APC of 1200 CHF applies. 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.
- Industry 4.0
- Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
- renewable energy
- job safety
- sustainable development
- technologies, industrial processes
- agro-forestry system