Smart manufacturing

Drivers such as digital technology, sustainability and the need to meet customer demands are making manufacturing smarter and greener

Smart manufacturing

Smart manufacturing covers the whole value chain and life cycle of a product, from concept and design to production, delivery and eventual recycling, as well as real-time integration of user or consumer input and feedback. It is about agile, adaptive and intelligent processes. 

The ultimate goal is to interconnect every step of the manufacturing process. Factories are organizing unprecedented technical systems integration across domains, hierarchy, geographic boundaries, value chains and life cycle phases. This integration will only be a success if the technology is supported by global consensus-based international standards.


Factory of the future

How will humans and machines communicate with each other? Will our work environment adapt to our needs?

In the factory of the future humans will have to come to terms with the increasing complexity of processes, machines and components. This will require new operating concepts for optimized human-machine interaction.

Nimble, adaptive and intelligent manufacturing processes will be the measure of success. The combination of “virtual” and “real” in order to get a full view of the complete value chain will allow factories to produce products more rapidly, more efficiently and with greater return using fewer resources.

The fourth industrial revolution

Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, is the current and developing environment of smart factories, in which every step of the manufacturing process is interconnected. Machines equipped with machine learning algorithms communicate with one another and make decisions based on data from an array of sensors. 

Technologies like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), AI and 3D printing all impact the way we produce, trade, live and communicate.

Digital transformation in the manufacturing sector would not be possible without international standards to ensure compatibility and interoperability so that new technologies can be seamlessly adopted. International standards are helping manufacturers to develop their products and services in a more efficient, safer and sustainable way. Many companies, consortia and other industry bodies are actively involved in standardization work.

Cyber security

The rapid growth of IIoT technologies is generating new security threats and because they are designed to connect cyber and physical environments, the consequences of a security vulnerability can result in physical damage.

IEC Technical Committee (TC) 65: Industrial process measurement, control and automation develops the IEC 62443 series of standards, a comprehensive set of guidelines that can be implemented in any operational environment, including smart factories and critical infrastructure such as power plants and transport networks.

The need for international standards

Standardization is of crucial importance, as more companies around the world adopt smart processes. Industry 4.0 requires an unprecedented integration of systems across domains, hierarchical boundaries and lifecycle phases.

For this reason, the IEC places a strong emphasis on systems work.  

The IEC Standardization Management Board (SMB) has set up a systems committee for smart manufacturing (SyC SM) with the aim of providing coordination and advice, as well as to harmonize and advance smart manufacturing activities in the IEC, other SDOs and consortia.

Syc SM enhances collaboration between the different IEC technical committees that are active in smart manufacturing:

Information structures and elements, identification and marking principles, documentation and graphical symbols

High-voltage switchgear and controlgear

Power electronic systems and equipment

Safety of machinery - Electrotechnical aspects

Industrial‑process measurement, control and automation

Electromagnetic compatibility

Environmental standardization for electrical and electronic products and systems

Switchgear and controlgear and their assemblies for low voltage

International special committee on radio interference 

The Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1 for Information technology, created by the IEC and ISO

Also develops relevant standards through its subcommittees, among them: