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Special Issue "Industry 4.0—Sustainable Technology, Policy, and Management"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Ecology and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2022) | Viewed by 3191

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Steven Umbrello
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Values, Technology & Innovation, Delft University of Technology, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlands
Interests: value sensitive design; design; ethics; AI; Industry 4.0
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, is marked by rapid changes to technology, industries, and societal patterns and processes as a function of increasing interconnectivity and smart automation. Given how rapidly these manufacturing processes and industry practices are and will be impacted by these changes, so will the management practices and policies governing and controlling these novel production environments. At its core, Industry 4.0 is characterised by its systemic nature. Transformative and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, gene editing, and advanced robotics blur the boundaries between physical, digital, and biological systems. This crosscutting raises challenges for sustainable development and the use of these technologies. Policy concerns also emerge concerning if and what regulations, standards, and forms of certifications are needed to govern these new processes that blur the lines between more traditional modes of manufacturing. Likewise, novel organisational challenges also need to be confronted. Various IT security issues, as well as concerns surrounding the reliability and stability needed for critical machine-to-machine communication (M2M), exist, including very short and stable latency times, among many other problems.

This Special Issue is dedicated to addressing these concerns. In particular, papers within this issue will aim to bridge the gap between the challenges we face and the means by which we can confront and ameliorate these concerns. Researchers in this field are invited to contribute their original, unpublished works. Both research and review papers are welcome. Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Ethical Concerns, such as how to design these systems for human values (i.e., value-sensitive design, human-centred AI, participatory design, etc.).
  • Economic Concerns, such as issues surrounding high economic costs, business model adaptation, and unclear economic benefits/excessive investment.
  • Social Concerns, such as privacy, surveillance, and distrust issues, as well as stakeholders’ general reluctance to change and technological unemployment.
  • Political Concerns, such as lack of regulation, standards and forms of certifications, as well as unclear legal issues and data security.
  • Organisational Concerns, IT security issues, the integrity of production processes, low top management commitment, the potential insufficient qualification of employees, employee wellbeing, and the need to protect industrial know-how.

Dr. Steven Umbrello
Guest Editor

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Sustainability 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 2200 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
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • design
  • applied ethics
  • systems theory

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Unfolding the Impact of Quality 4.0 Practices on Industry 4.0 and Circular Economy Practices: A Hybrid SEM-ANN Approach
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 15495; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142315495 - 22 Nov 2022
Viewed by 441
Abstract
In the era of Industry 4.0, Quality 4.0 (Q4.0) relates to quality management. To that end, it focuses on digital technologies that integrate social and technical resources and offer the best possible product and service to its customers. Few real-world studies have been [...] Read more.
In the era of Industry 4.0, Quality 4.0 (Q4.0) relates to quality management. To that end, it focuses on digital technologies that integrate social and technical resources and offer the best possible product and service to its customers. Few real-world studies have been done on the social and technical aspects of Q4.0. Thus, the purpose of this study is to investigate empirically the impact of social and technical Q4.0 on I4.0 technologies and circular economy practices (CEP) in small- and medium-sized (SME) manufacturing enterprises. A framework based on the resource-based view (RBV) theory is developed and empirically validated by an online questionnaire of 189 Malaysian SME manufacturing enterprises. In contrast to the other existent QM investigations, which made use of structural equation modelling (SEM), this study performed an analysis in two stages. First, the Q4.0 practices that significantly influence I4.0 technologies and CEP are identified using the SEM approach. Second, the significant predictors obtained from SEM are ranked according to their relative importance using the artificial neural network (ANN) technique. The findings indicate that social and technical Q4.0 practices have improved I4.0 technologies and CEP. The findings also highlight the role performed by technical Q4.0 practices as a mediator between social Q4.0 practices, I4.0 technologies, and CEP. The findings of ANN highlight that the role of social and technical Q4.0 are crucial to the successful deployment of I4.0 technologies and CEP in manufacturing companies. The purpose of the current research is to shed light on the importance of Q4.0 multidimensions, hence contributing to theory application, especially given the scarcity of multidimensional perspectives of Q4.0 literature. In essence, the SEM-ANN methodology adds something new to the bodies of literature on Q4.0, I4.0, and CEP. As an outcome of the research, organisations can develop innovative strategies to adopt Q4.0 by gaining a better understanding of the elements that contribute to effective Q4.0 implementation in the digital transformation era. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0—Sustainable Technology, Policy, and Management)
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Article
Safety and Sustainable Development of Automated Driving in Mixed-Traffic Urban Areas—Considering Vulnerable Road Users and Network Efficiency
Sustainability 2022, 14(20), 13486; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142013486 - 19 Oct 2022
Viewed by 603
Abstract
Next to environmental aspects, establishing areas for safe and economically viable automated driving in mixed-traffic settings is one major challenge for sustainable development of Autonomous Vehicles (AVs). This work investigates safety in the interactions between AVs, human-driven vehicles, and vulnerable road users, including [...] Read more.
Next to environmental aspects, establishing areas for safe and economically viable automated driving in mixed-traffic settings is one major challenge for sustainable development of Autonomous Vehicles (AVs). This work investigates safety in the interactions between AVs, human-driven vehicles, and vulnerable road users, including cyclists and pedestrians, within a simulated urban environment in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. New junction and pedestrian models are introduced, and virtual AVs with an occlusion-aware driving system are deployed to deliver cargo autonomously. The safety of applying this autonomous cargo delivery service is assessed using a large set of Surrogate Safety Indicators (SSIs). Furthermore, Macroscopic Fundamental Diagrams (MFDs) and travel time loss are incorporated to evaluate the network efficiency. By assessing the impact of various measures involving Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V), Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I), Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communications, infrastructure modifications, and driving behavior, we show that traffic safety and network efficiency can be achieved in a living lab setting for the considered case. Our findings further suggest that V2X gets implemented, new buildings are not placed close to intersections, and the speed limit of non-arterial roads is lowered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0—Sustainable Technology, Policy, and Management)
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