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Industry 4.0 Discussion

Factory 4.0 Open Initiative, LLC. (FourOh-LLC) is creating a set of resources which are NOT considered to be Industry 4.0 (fouroh) by any measure. This is by design, this is done on purpose, and FourOh-LLC does not want to “evolve” into Industry 4.0.

As of January, 2020 what Wikipedia has to say about Industry 4.0 is discussed below. We have duplicated much of that content here for a snapshot of the Industry 4.0 domain, as it was understood, as it was documented 'back in January 2020'.

We are “ styling with italic and strike-through ” all that we see in Industry 4.0 as generally undesirable in our small, 20-miles of community. We are styling with italic underline all which are not part of Industry 4.0 but part of FourOh-LLC. The only way to eat a whale is by bite-sized chunks: Industry 4.0 is that whale, and FourOh-LLC is dicing it into bite-sized chunks.

The title below, and the text on the left is copied verbatim from the Wikipedia page above. On the right is our position and explanation from our (FourOh-LLC) perspective.

Design Principles and goals

There are four design principles in Industry 4.0. These principles support companies in identifying and implementing Industry 4.0 scenarios.[3]

  • Interconnection: The ability of machines, devices, sensors, and people to connect and communicate with each other via the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of People (IoP)[20]
  • Information transparency: The transparency afforded by Industry 4.0 technology provides operators with vast amounts of useful information needed to make appropriate decisions. Inter-connectivity allows operators to collect immense amounts of data and information from all points in the manufacturing process, thus aiding functionality and identifying key areas that can benefit from innovation and improvement.[20]
  • Technical assistance: First, the ability of assistance systems to support humans by aggregating and visualizing information comprehensively for making informed decisions and solving urgent problems on short notice. Second, the ability of cyber physical systems to physically support humans by conducting a range of tasks that are unpleasant, too exhausting, or unsafe for their human co-workers.
  • Decentralized decisions: The ability of cyber physical systems to make decisions on their own and to perform their tasks as autonomously as possible. Only in the case of exceptions, interferences, or conflicting goals, are tasks delegated to a higher level.

Industry 4.0 envisions environmentally-sustainable manufacturing by having green manufacturing processes, green supply chain management, and green products.


FourOh-LLC is promoting the complementary installation of the FourOh-LLC Network - which is small and local, owner-operated, privileged-access, fully standards compliant. Our user-base is in the dozens maybe in the hundreds, not in the millions.

Information transparency

The low-cost no-risk piloting of the FourOh-LLC Software Stack reduces the information to the precise amount and nature, by realizing your Domain Vocabulary and creating its Dictionary. Transparency is created by separating and publishing what is shared from what is protected business data.

Technical assistance

Technical assistance is still by people in person, not by automation. The FourOh-LLC Network is a minimal set of uniform resources, where feature and flexibility is traded for very low cost of sustainability and high level of reliability. FourOh-LLC is small and simple, easily mastered and supported by the owner-operator.

Decentralized decision

On Wikipedia this is explained as part of the technology, and you may see an example of this in the self-checkout stations in grocery stores. The majority of industrial service providers call this the “gateway”, which is the proprietary business logic controlling a heap of locally installed hardware.

In FourOh-LLC this is not present or planned, the cost of the technology is still too high. Even worse, the number of installations must be in the dozens or in the hundreds, which excludes small single-location shops across all industries.

The ONLY thing “green” about FourOh-LLC is profitability - in this 20 mile radius we reject all that is phony, deceptive or insane about the push for Environmental Friendliness and other marketing or political nonsense. In other words, if and when we make and sell paper straws it is NOT because they are environmental friendly - but because they are profitable.

By reducing our operational and support cost to the minimum, and by maximizing profit we are able to keep all and any-sized competitors out of the local market - even if for a limited set of products and resources. In turn, we are able to keep our immediate community not only sustained but economically prosperous.

Therefore the core “Design principles and goals” of FourOh-LLC is not realized in supporting the mission of global corporations, the very same entities which are draining and killing our local economy - but in keeping our stores and shops open for business. We are denying the global corporation the chance to drain and move our resources, talents and intellectual assets away from our townships.

* * *

The next section of the same Wikipedia page lists some “Components of Industry 4.0”, and the entire section is duplicated between the horizontal lines:

Components of Industry 4.0

“Industry 4.0” is an abstract and complex term consisting of many components when looking closely into our society and current digital trends. To understand how extensive these components are, here are some contributing digital technologies as examples:[25]

  • Mobile devices
  • Internet of Things (IoT) platforms
  • Location detection technologies
  • Advanced human-machine interfaces
  • Authentication and fraud detection
  • 3D printing
  • Smart sensors
  • Big data analytics and advanced algorithms
  • Multilevel customer interaction and customer profiling
  • Augmented reality/ wearables
  • Fog, Edge and Cloud computing
  • Data visualization and triggered “real-time” training

Mainly these technologies can be summarized into four major components, defining the term “Industry 4.0” or “smart factory”:[25]

  • Cyber-physical systems
  • IoT
  • Cloud computing
  • Cognitive computing

With the help of cyber-physical systems that monitor physical processes, a virtual copy of the physical world can be designed. Thus, these systems have the ability of making decentralized decisions on their own and reach a high degree of autonomy (for more information, see “Industry 4.0 characteristics). As a result, Industry 4.0 networks a wide range of new technologies to create value.[25]

This is more-less accurate, and this list remained basically the same for years.

However, only very Very VERY LARGE industrial operations such as semiconductor fabrication labs, auto plants, and Amazon Fulfillment Centers see much use out of these. A combination of many of these is so expensive to license and utilize that only ship builders and ore mining operations, truly super-sized businesses may afford them.

Just a clarification: we are not talking about Google App store, where for 10 bucks you are selling your Android Ware which augment the GPS with a GTA HUD on your windshield as you drive. Yes, you are Industry 4.0, congrats, but you are NOT an Industry 4.0 services provider. You are an end-user, and you are not building and supporting the “wares” used in building the next generation of attack submarines.

* * *

The next section on the same Wikipedia page (and the last one on this page) lists three items as the drive behind Industry 4.0. We find those a bit out of focus, as a lot of these have absolutely nothing to do with “manufacturing” and the actual “production floor”.

From a manufacturing perspective here is our Candidate for the Truth: The drive for Industry 4.0 is MORE automation, and the replacement of human labor with automation. Simple, rational, and plausible. That is - all that vertical and horizontal movement to collect and utilize data has the main purpose to increase the capacity and income of the business, without hiring more people.

Here is the entire section of the Wikipedia article in verbatim:

Industry 4.0 Drivers

What all these components have in common, is that Data and Analytics are their core capabilities. “Industry 4.0” is driven by: [26]

1. Digitization and integration of vertical and horizontal value chains:[26]

Vertically, Industry 4.0 integrates processes across the entire organization for example processes in product development, manufacturing, logistics and service whereas horizontally, Industry 4.0 includes internal operations from suppliers to customers plus all key value chain partners.[26]

2. Digitization of product and service offerings:[26]

Integrating new methods of data collection and analysis for example through the expansion of existing products or creation of new digitised products, helps companies to generate data on product use and thus, to refine products in order to meet best the customers’ needs.[26]

3. Digital business models and customer access:[26]

Reaching customer satisfaction is a multi-stage, never-ending process that needs to be modified currently as customers’ needs change all the time. Therefore, companies expand their offerings by establishing disruptive digital business models to provide their customers digital solutions that meet their needs best.[26]

This is where the size of the business operation and the size of liquid assets no longer make fundamental differences in the capacity for adaptation. This is the relatively low-tech entry point with relatively low resource requirements, for example:

  • Generating a heat-map of the production floor
  • Tracking article weight and count throughout the assembly / tear-down operation
  • Sequencing and prioritizing via scripts in the database
  • BOM Scrubbing for regulations such as RoHS

FourOh-LLC may safely and completely ignore the “components” of Industry 4.0, and instead keep focus on the set of Design Principles and create opportunities in a local, limited scope.

The “Industry 4.0 Drives” section in Wikipedia calls this “Data and Analytics”, which has to do with both real-time and historical collection of raw, undisciplined data. This is not “rocket-science”, anyone with a stop-watch is able to record a few things about a production cycle. FourOh-LLC is able to store that data, attach web forms to the front of it, some database scripts to the back of it, and you have instant “data analytics”.


What we are creating is not a “light” or a “beta” version of Industry 4.0, and here are some of the differences between FourOh-LLC and Industry 4.0:

  • Low-Cost, No-Risk Pilots with features traded for simplicity [a]
  • Complementary and gradual, improvement instead of replacement [b]
  • No gain no pain, no fees, no loss [c]

[a] Most Industry 4.0 implementations are irreversible, and they result in what was once called a vendor lock-in. Read the Wikipedia page and realize this is a very complex subject, and with Industry 4.0 it would be unfair to state that the lock on your business data by the vendor or by the technology is bad, or it is done on purpose. While designing the FourOh-LLC Software Stack we traded many great features and functionality for simplicity - but industry leaders do not have the same luxury. The powerful, full-featured solutions they build often come with the necessity to fundamentally alter your business and production processes. Once the transition completed “they” own the business logic, you own your data, and you cannot separate the two and hope to survive.

[b] FourOh-LLC succeeds every time a Yahoo! or a Gmail address is replaced with your own domain email, every time a paper form is replaced with a web form. That's right, FourOh-LLC is not replacing email - it is replacing the service provider. It is not replacing forms - it is replacing the file folder cabinet with the database. This does not need to happen all at once, on schedule, based on a Grand Design - it happens whenever you finally get around to it. You, as the business owner, as the operation manager, as the production lead should learn and grow along the way - gradually replacing your Post-It Notes, your spreadsheet databases, the database in your employee's head with something that is shared but protected, backed-up, searchable, relatable.

[c] A FourOh-LLC instance costs about 160 USD / year in resource fees, and after the initial setup it functions with only a few hours of maintenance each month. If your business or your grassroots is unable to gain or save 160.00 USD in a year using FourOh-LLC we are just wasting each other's time. On the other hand, when you do gain or save substantially there is our shared business case, to invest more resources and to better adapt FourOh-LLC for your specific purposes. There is no “failure” in FourOh-LLC, there is only learning and improvement, and you should not suffer any loss to your business credibility or bottom line.

This is the so called ABC of FourOh-LLC and the fundamental differences between FourOh-LLC and Industry 4.0. All else is built on top of these few observations.

This, of course, does not mean that FourOh-LLC cannot, or shall not grow into something super-sized, something global. This simply means that it may no longer be called a FourOh-LLC Instance, it is going to become something else. The FourOh-LLC Instances are designed for the small, 20-mile radius local communities, and where one grows into its own destiny another shall take its place.


The purpose of this page is to take a snapshot, to draw the parallel between what Industry 4.0 delivers, and FourOh-LLC promises, as of January 2020. FourOh-LLC turned one year old this month, and the plan is to keep documenting and evolving it slowly, in bite-sized chunks

This page could be improved, but to serve its purpose we have to stop editing it. We apologize for any errors and omissions, but editing of this page concluded on the 8th of January, 2020. See you next year!

fouroh/discussion.txt · Last modified: 2020/01/08 04:45 by admin2welcome