Print 4.0 / Digital Smart Factory

Print 4.0 is derived from the term "Industry 4.0" - also known as Digital Smart Factory. It is an emergent concept of manufacturing, encompassing

  • mass customizations
  • highly flexible and nearly autonomous production
  • extensive integration between print providers to customers and business partners
  • linking of production with high-quality services

The basis for this are technical standards for communication between persons to machine and machine to machine. For the latter, JDF, XJDF and PrintTalk are playing a fundamental role.

The vision of Industry 4.0. is, that

"orders … book their processing machines and their material and organize their delivery to the customer"

(Fraunhofer IAO: Studie Produktionsarbeit der Zukunft - Industrie 4.0).

The term Print 4.0 is related to "Workflow Automation". The latter encompasses physical devices and software modules sharing electronic data to make sure that a process gets all the required information/resources that it needs for an automatic execution, at least in part. Thus, Workflow automation primarily refers to actual production, while Print 4.0 encompasses the entire value chain, from order to delivery. However, the distinction between the two terms is blurred.