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32 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2018 Perhaps in the future, sentient robots look- ing back at humans today will consider that we were a somewhat random bunch of people as no two of us are the same. Human actions and choices cannot be predicted reli- ably, worse even than the weather. As with any team however, our ability to rationalize in many different ways in parallel is, in fact, our strength, creating a kind of biological "fuzzy logic." Robots will have to cope with mankind's wishes for differentiation, no matter how illogical that may be. Rather than repet- itive automation, the Industry 4.0 computer- ization concept has been created to find effi- ciency in automated randomness. The crux of such a process is the ability to be prepared for, and to be able to manage, the increasing mix of products and their variants effectively, just as smoothly as if factories were producing in high volume. When considering Industry 4.0 therefore, being able to digitally configure to order (CTO), rather than having to be respon- sible for hundreds or thousands of individual bill of materials (BOMs), in a simple and effec- tive way is an essential, critical business need. Automation has been a key element since the start of the third industrial revolution, where electrical systems and controllers have been Accelerating Tech—Insights from the Smart Factory Column by Michael Ford AEGIS SOFTWARE Configure to Order: Different by Design

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