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More and more medium-sized companies are recognizing the opportunities and advantages of Industry 4.0 in order to secure their long-term competitiveness. Many of the Industry 4.0 solutions offered so far, however, often do not meet the specific requirements for the SME. This applies both to medium-sized producers of plants, devices and components that want to develop "Industry 4.0-capable" products as well as to operators of medium-sized processing companies who want to digitize their company. This includes the following requirements:

  • producer-independent integration of various systems
  • manageable implementation costs
  • compliance of guidelines and standards in machinery and plant construction
  • configuration of Smart Factory in accordance with specific situations
  • guaranteeing data sovereignty for manufacturer and operator


With the IF4.0 standard, the Industry Business Network 4.0 e.V. association is creating the foundation for an implementation of Industry 4.0, specifically orientated toward requirements of the SME.


What makes the IF4.0 standard so special?​

In comparison to other Industry 4.0 solutions, which focus on using all available data in the cloud, for example, the core idea of the producer-independent IF4.0 standard is to process only the machine data which generates added value, to process relevant information and to make this available for a Smart Factory in standardized form.

IF 4.0 thus offers a solution for the SME in particular, which combines essential advantages:

  • producer-independent
  • standardized
  • added value-orientated
  • supplier-independent


This also has the considerable advantage for producers of plants, devices and components, that they do not have to disclose all the data of their systems, which often comprises technological know-how. At the same time, the standardized exchange of information guarantees that the products of different producers can be integrated and utilized. The operator of a production facility is thus no longer dependent on a specific provider and may choose the product most practical for him which is compatible with the IF4.0 standard.