Shaping the research agenda for Service Engineering in the era of Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is commonly referred as the 4th Industrial Revolution. Automation and data exchange technologies will trigger profound changes for manufacturing and logistic organizations, and intelligent assistance will give new meaning to employees’ work.

Prof. Tobias Larsson and Marco Bertoni took part to the “Service Engineering in the era of Industry 4.0” workshop organized by the IFIP Working Group 5.7 on Advances in production Management Systems.

The workshop was organized by the CELS Research Group and held at the University of Bergamo in Italy, gathering more than 20 academics and practitioners from around the world. Its main objective was to develop a common understanding about the product-service ecosystem transformation in the Industry 4.0 era, to explore the existing gaps in practice and theory, and to identify future research paths.

Highly flexible handling solutions, safe cooperation between humans and robots in working cells, support for elderly workers, predictive maintenance: these are only few examples of how intelligent, context aware, and self-governed technologies can impact future production systems. More examples were provided by ABB, which presented its vision of Industry 4.0 and showcased ABB Ability™, an interoperable platform to bring together and fully exploit the potential of big data, connectivity, smart sensors and other new ICT technologies. As a concrete example, ABB Ability Marine Performance Optimization provides ship operators with a way to monitor and assess all available inputs on weather, wave height, course, speed, cargo and more, to determine the most efficient route to their destination.

Results from the workshop will be collected in a white paper on the topic of “Service Engineering in the era of Industry 4.0”, serving as reference point for future activities in the community.

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