Industry 4.0 and Digital Innovation in Manufacturing: State of the Art Technology and Future Prospects in the Italian Mechanical Engineering Sector
Keywords:Industry 4.0, Digital Transformation, Advanced Manufacturing, Mechanical Engineering, Italy
The label ‘Industry 4.0’ has captured increasing attention in recent years. However, despite impressive media coverage, EU activism, and being featured in many government programs, the picture of the actual diffusion and realistic industrial potential of the so-called ‘Industry 4.0 enabling technologies’ is still unclear. Far from filling this gap at the European or global level, in this paper we focus one specific, though relevant, industrial domain: the Italian mechanical engineering sector. The analysis shows the magnitude of a phenomenon that has undoubtedly been subject to some excessive rhetoric. Nevertheless, our findings show that things are progressing as the early adopters (mostly large businesses) are beginning to invest in and develop strategic plans for future action. However, most players such as small-sized family-owned enterprises are simply looking at the moment, and do not appear to have a strategy in approaching Industry 4.0 or any plan for getting on board in the near future, and this is something industrial and political leaders should take note.
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