Tomás Pariente
Daniel Calvo
MDPI Sensors

The digitization of manufacturing industry has led to leaner and more efficient production, under the Industry 4.0 concept. Nowadays, datasets collected from shop floor assets and information technology (IT) systems are used in data-driven analytics efforts to support more informed business intelligence decisions. However, these results are currently only used in isolated and dispersed parts of the production process.

At the same time, full integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in all parts of manufacturing systems is currently lacking. In this context, the goal of this manuscript is to present a more holistic integration of AI by promoting collaboration. To this end, collaboration is understood as a multidimensional conceptual term that covers all important enablers for AI adoption in manufacturing contexts and is promoted in terms of business intelligence optimization, human-in-the-loop and secure federation across manufacturing sites.

To address these challenges, the proposed architectural approach builds on three technical pillars: (1) components that extend the functionality of the existing layers in the Reference Architectural Model for Industry 4.0; (2) definition of new layers for collaboration by means of human-in-the-loop and federation; (3) security concerns with AI-powered mechanisms.