Information providers09 April 2024

Industry 4.0 data manufacturing

Harnessing the power of Industry 4.0 dashboards means more data for technicians to give them a better insight when problem-solving

Industry 4.0 technologies are transforming manufacturing processes, enabling increased automation, connectivity and data exchange. The greater availability of sensor data brings with it challenge of consolidating and interpreting sometimes overwhelming amounts of data generated across different manufacturing systems. Industry 4.0 dashboards play a pivotal role in providing a human interface with this data, offering technicians a comprehensive view by amalgamating disparate data sources into a single, easily accessible interface. Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, represents the convergence of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics. It’s a paradigm that emphasises digital transformation, automation and interconnectivity in the manufacturing sector. In this context, dashboards act as the backbone, providing a visual interface that aggregates and displays information from diverse sources, enabling real-time monitoring, analysis, and decision-making.


By integrating diverse data streams, Industry 4.0 dashboards provide technicians with a holistic perspective, enabling informed decision-making and proactive problem-solving. Dashboards in Industry 4.0 are not just about data visualisation, they are about actionable intelligence. They pull together information from sensors, machines, ERP systems and external databases to present a unified view of operations, performance metrics, and KPIs. This holistic view enables technicians to monitor processes in real-time, predict maintenance needs, optimise production schedules and respond swiftly to any anomalies or opportunities.

A key benefit of the dashboards is their ability to facilitate real-time monitoring of equipment and processes. This capability ensures that technicians can detect and address issues as they arise, minimising downtime and maintaining operational continuity. Furthermore, by integrating data from sensors and historical maintenance records, dashboards can leverage predictive analytics to forecast equipment failures before they occur, enabling preemptive maintenance and significantly reducing unplanned downtime.

By amalgamating data from various sources, Industry 4.0 dashboards provide a comprehensive overview of the manufacturing ecosystem. This integration enables decision-makers to identify trends, patterns, and anomalies, making it easier to devise strategies that enhance productivity, reduce costs, and improve product quality. Moreover, with the incorporation of AI and machine learning algorithms, dashboards can offer insights and recommendations, further augmenting the decision-


Modern industrial systems have been developing increasingly complex interconnections between digital devices, even before Industry 4.0 brought IoT and big data technologies into the mix. Different information systems are used to store, process and serve this data, enabling human decision making and controlling digital devices. These systems can be seen as operating in a hierarchy, where at the highest level material requirements planning or manufacturing resource planning (MRP) provides production planning, scheduling, finance and inventory control. Below this is a historian storing time series data from sensors and instruments, which can be graphed to understand trends. Statistical process control (SPC) is one application for a historian. Conventionally dashboards would be considered to be at the human machine interface (HMI) level, where control panels allow human operators to view data and issue commands. Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) enables real-time control and monitoring interactions between machines, HMIs and the historian. Using SCADA, an HMI can control multiple machines and view data related to multiple devices. Manufacturing execution system (MES) includes functions such as operation scheduling and data collection. In some ways it can be seen as coming between and overlapping with MRP and SCADA. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) describes the integration of a wide range of information systems related to manufacturing. These might include MRP, MES, PLM and CRM. An ERP system may be a monolithic software suite which handles all of these functions or a core ERP system which interfaces with specialised applications from multiple vendors.


There are a wide range of key features and capabilities of Industry 4.0 dashboards.

Real-time monitoring: Industry 4.0 dashboards continuously monitor manufacturing processes, offering up-to-the-minute insights into equipment performance, production status, and resource utilisation. This real-time visibility empowers technicians to detect anomalies promptly, identify potential issues, and take corrective actions swiftly, thereby minimising downtime and optimising operational efficiency.

Data aggregation and correlation: these dashboards excel in aggregating data from disparate sources, including machinery, sensors and external systems. By correlating information from multiple streams, they uncover hidden patterns, correlations and dependencies, providing technicians with a comprehensive understanding of interconnected processes and factors influencing production outcomes.

Customisable visualisation: Industry 4.0 dashboards offer customisable visualisation options, allowing technicians to tailor the interface according to their preferences and requirements. Through intuitive charts, graphs, and heatmaps, complex data sets are transformed into easily interpretable visuals, facilitating quick analysis and decision-making.

Predictive analytics and maintenance: Leveraging predictive analytics algorithms, these dashboards forecast potential equipment failures and maintenance needs based on historical data, real-time performance metrics, and machine learning models. By proactively addressing maintenance issues, technicians can prevent costly breakdowns, extend equipment lifespan, and ensure uninterrupted production operations.

Integration with external systems: Industry 4.0 dashboards seamlessly integrate with other enterprise systems such as ERP, MES and CRM, fostering data exchange and interoperability across the organisation. This integration eliminates data silos, streamlines workflows, and facilitates cross-functional collaboration among different departments.


By consolidating disparate data sources into a unified view, Industry 4.0 dashboards provide technicians with enhanced situational awareness, enabling them to grasp the overall production landscape and identify areas requiring attention or optimisation. Furthermore, thanks to real-time monitoring and predictive analytics capabilities, technicians can quickly identify and address issues before they escalate, minimising production disruptions and downtime. Timely access to actionable insights empowers technicians to troubleshoot problems efficiently, improving overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and productivity.

The dashboards empower technicians with data-driven decision-making capabilities, allowing them to base their actions on accurate, timely information – rather than intuition or guesswork. By analysing trends, performance metrics and historical data, technicians can make informed decisions to optimise processes, allocate resources effectively and drive continuous improvement initiatives.

By integrating with existing systems and automating data aggregation processes, the dashboards streamline workflows for technicians, reducing manual effort and administrative overhead.

Despite the challenges associated with data integration and cybersecurity, the benefits they offer make them an indispensable tool in the modern industrial landscape. As technology advances, the capabilities of these dashboards will expand, further transforming the industry and setting new benchmarks for operational excellence.

Jody Muelaner

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