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Digital transformation, Industry 4.0, and IIoT in the fab shop

April 03, 2020 / Jason Ray

You’ve heard of Industry 4.0, but what does it really mean? More important, what does it mean for small and midmarket job shops? What are the implications for the typical sheet metal fabricator? For insight, consider the experience of three companies with revenues that range in the millions to tens of millions of dollars. Each provides unique perspectives on what adopting Industry 4.0 technology means to their business. Approved Sheet Metal is a sheet metal fabrication shop in Hudson, N.H.; Sweeney Metal Fabricators, Nashua, N.H., offers both sheet metal fabrication and joined metal components; and Century-Tywood, Holliston, Mass., is a large contract manufacturer for fabricated components, CNC machining, stampings, and electromechanical assemblies. There is no one definition for Industry 4.0. Of the definitions that do exist, most encompass buzzwords like industrial internet of things, cyberphysical systems, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Simply put, Industry 4.0...