What is Industry 4.0?

2.18.21 What is Industry 4.0

Smartphones have changed the way we communicate with one another, evolving from dialing and speaking capabilities to texting and emailing; Smart TVs and streaming services have changed the way we watch our favorite shows. “Smart” technology has impacted our day-to-day lives in important ways. This same technology is transforming manufacturing in a movement dubbed Industry 4.0.  

What is Industry 4.0?  

Forbes describes Industry 4.0 as the digitization of manufacturing, the fourth revolution that the manufacturing industry has seen. The first industrial revolution saw mass production from mechanization through water and steam power. The second industrial revolution incorporated assembly lines and electricity; the third began using automation in mass production. The fourth industrial revolution leverages smart technology, real-time data, and machine learning.  

Computers are Driving the Revolution 

A smart factory is possible as computer systems are increasingly connected with networked solutions. Using real-time data, manufacturers are able to adjust from moment to moment and supply lines and needs fluctuate. Machines are digitally connected with one another, sharing information, improving overall productivity.  

Adding Jobs 

You may think this sounds like jobs will be obsolete if the machines are taking over. However, rather than mass production by hand, employees will be called upon to monitor and troubleshoot the production machines. Employees will need advanced skills in areas like Mechatronics, hydraulics, pneumatics, mechanical drives, programmable logic controls (PLCs), as well as computer skills.  

Yes, you read that right: when you have a manufacturing career, you can expect to have a clean job, often behind a computer or walking the shop floor. Manufacturing is increasingly clean and technology-driven. Job descriptions are now including competencies like “computer literate” hoping to attract people with more than basic skills. For the people with the right skills, opportunities are plentiful and job prospects are good! 

Learning the Skills to Succeed 

Whether you currently have a manufacturing job, or you have always envisioned yourself working with your hands in a manufacturing career, you may need additional skills for the job you want. Many companies have learning and development teams that are trying to add advanced coursework to meet the need. Luckily, community colleges have the technical capabilities to train people today 

Schools like Marshalltown Community College and Iowa Valley Business and Community Solutions have the tools and resources to teach advanced skills. You (or your employees) can learn Smart Factory technology, right in your backyard. Even better? You may be able to offer training programs on-site, reducing travel and optimizing training time.  


Whether your business has already adopted advanced technology or is still looking for the right solutions, you can learn the skills you need to succeed. The training specialists at Iowa Valley are here to help. Whether you want to be a fulltime student and earn your degree, or you are looking to take a class or two to enhance your knowledge, we can customize a program for you that will ensure you have the skills you need for the job you want. Learn more today!