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Industry 4.0 reference architectures: State of the art and future trends

: Nakagawa, Elisa Yumi; Antonino, Pablo Oliveira; Schnicke, Frank; Capilla, Rafael; Kuhn, Thomas; Liggesmeyer, Peter


Computers and Industrial Engineering 156 (2021), Art. 107241
ISSN: 0360-8352
Fraunhofer IESE ()
Industry 4.0; Reference architecture; Software architecture; Interoperability

Industry 4.0 has led to a dramatic shift in manufacturing processes, which must be accomplished by interacting end-to-end industrial systems. While Industry 4.0 is still a big challenge for many manufacturing companies, reference architectures have been increasingly adopted in different domains to guide engineers on how their systems should interoperate and be structured. Companies have made different experiences with reference architectures for Industry 4.0. However, depending on the use cases addressed, a reference architecture may be more or less suited to support the transformation of a particular company. Besides, a complete understanding of existing representative architectures does not exist. The main goal of this work is to review existing reference architectures for Industry 4.0 and analyze them concerning their suitability for supporting Industry 4.0 processes and solutions. For this, we systematically researched these architectures and thoroughly analyzed and characterized them. We also address their use and technologies/tools that could support their implementation. As a result, we found that existing architectures still have a long way to go; hence, we present the most urgent steps for the near future. We conclude that the Industry 4.0 community is right in investing in reference architectures considering the future of Industry 4.0.