Today, there are probably a lot of businesses wondering whether the enterprise itself is ready to participate in Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0 in order to modernize enterprises, increase the competitive strength and optimize the efficiency of production. A company has deployed and operated some IT systems for management, production, and operation. The questions here are where are they in the overall picture of IR 4.0? What is a specific roadmap for businesses to leapfrog and join the trend of IR 4.0?  

Today, most enterprises in Vietnam have heard no less than once about the Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0, the trend of integrating IR 4.0 and the benefits of IR 4.0 brings in improving the technology, improving production capacity and competitiveness, creating big changes in production and business forms, as well as opening new doors for creative start-ups. In addition, the concept of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and Smart Factory (SF) have been exploited in many enterprises in Vietnam.

However, it seems that the connection between the above-mentioned concepts is still unclear for Vietnamese enterprises. And sure enough, there are many companies wondering whether the enterprise itself is ready to participate in IR 4.0 to modernize the business, increase the competitive strength and optimize the efficiency of business production To A company has deployed and operated some IT systems for management, production and operation; So where are they in the overall picture of IR 4.0? What is a specific roadmap for businesses to leapfrog and join the trend of 4.0 IR?

Definition of Industrial Revolution 4.0

IR 4.0 is derived from the “Industrie 4.0” concept in a German government report in 2013. IR 4.0 connects embedded systems and intelligent manufacturing facilities to create the digital convergence of Industries, Business, Functions, and Processes. Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, offers a simpler look at IR 4.0 as follows: “The first industrial revolution used water and steam power to mechanize manufacturing. The second revolution took place through the application of electricity to mass production. The third revolution used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) is flourishing from the third revolution in which it combines technologies together, reducing the barriers among physics, digital and biology.”   

According to Klaus Schwab, the breakthrough speed of IR 4.0 is experiencing the exponential growth, while the previous IRs evolved only at linear speed. IR 4.0 alerts the breakdown and transformation in both the breadth and depth of the entire manufacturing, management and administration system in most industries in every country. One feature of IR 4.0 is the trend of automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) in manufacturing technology. IR 4.0 facilitates the creation of Smart Factory.

Reference Architectural Model for Industry 4.0 (RAMI 4.0)

If enterprises ever come across any kinds of news on forums or mass media talks about IR 4.0 remains an abstract thing, Reference Architectural Model for Industry 4.0 (RAMI 4.0) will still be a very new concept in Vietnam. This is a model that can help enterprises better understand the current position and the ability of enterprises to integrate into the trend of 4.0 IR.

RAMI 4.0 is a reference model for IR 4.0 that has been standardized and widely used in the world which allows all participants in IR 4.0 to use a common frame of reference for exchanging and understanding each other. This is a three-dimensional frame that is able to describe all important aspects of IR 4.0, in which complex relationships can be broken down into smaller groups and will be simpler to approach and implement gradually.

Meaning of Dimensions of RAMI 4.0:

  • “Lifecycle & value stream”: Based on IEC standard: 62890 to define the life cycle of production equipment and products. There is a distinction between the model product lifecycle (“Type”) and the actually produced products (“Instance”).
  • “Layers”: divided into 6 layers:
  • Asset: Includes equipment, machinery, assets, people in the real world.
  • Integration: In this layer, real-world assets will be digitized/virtualized.
  • Communication: This layer defines communication methods that ensure that assets communicate with each other.
  • Information: Stores necessary information for the management, operation, tracking, and control of assets.
  • Functional: Includes the functionality of virtualized asset operations
  • Business: Includes processes of organizational structure and production and business activities of enterprises.
  • “Hierarchy Levels”: They are inherited and developed from industry standard IEC: 62 264 for the hierarchical model of an automation system and Information Technology of an enterprise by adding to the network interactions both the “Product” at the bottom and “Connected World” level at the top.
In the decentralized model of automation and IT systems of IEC standard: 62264, the manufactured products (“Product”) are isolated, having no interactions with the upper layers.In RAMI 4.0, the “Hierarchy Levels” axis is extended from the standard IEC:62264 hierarchy by adding both “Product” and “Connected World” (also known as IoT / IoS – Internet of Things/Internet of Services.)
RAMI 4.0 inherited and evolved the standard IEC:62264 hierarchy

Smart Factory and Pyramid model of automation systems and enterprise management IT systems of the standard IEC:62264

The RAMI 4.0 model easily shows that the focus of CMCN 4.0 is the Smart Factory, in which intelligent plants adopt the industrial IEC: 62264 standard for modeling and decentralizing tools and systems production, management. Industrial standards do not regulate what a business has to do, but they describe how a business should be successful. An industry standard is often built and developed by concentrating ideas, experiences, information from multiple sources, many experts, and many organizations with extensive experience and knowledge in the field. In other words, the standard includes useful and popular knowledge, information, practical value which have been widely recognized and applied.

Model classification in accordance with the IEC: 62264 standards for intelligent manufacturing equipment, automation control systems, and enterprise management systems.

The IEC: 62264 standard (inherited and developed from ISA 95) divides the tools and systems of a smart factory into five levels from level 0 to level 4 (see figure above). Level 4 systems are typically enterprise-wide IT governance systems that are monitored and used on a daily, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. Typical IT systems at this level include the following systems:

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Supply Chain Management (SCM)
  • Product Life Management (PLM)

Systems at the Level 3 level are usually automated production control systems, monitored and used in the frequency of seconds, minutes, hours, batch, day. Typical systems at this level include:

  • Manufacturing Execution System (MES): The process of controlling systems and production lines are capable of coordinating resources with production tools, production progress reports, tracking production lots, executive analysis and quality control.
  • Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS): information management system for experimental production of products.

Level 2 systems are usually automated for monitoring and control systems that are monitored and used in milliseconds, seconds, minutes, and hours. Examples include:

  • Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA): control system and data acquisition. SCADA systems are normally deployed at the Operations Monitoring Center, which includes a host of servers and devices such as SCADA servers, Man Machine Interface (MMI), Historical Information System (HIS), Dispatcher Training Simulator(DTS), Inter Control Center Protocol (ICCP),…; Both stations include Remote Terminal Unit (RTU), Supervisory Interface Cubic (SIC), etc.
  • Distributed Control System (DCS): distributed device control system.
  • Programmable Logic Controller (PLC): Programmable logic controller.

Level 1 and level 0 include sensors, controllers (Level 1) attached to the equipment directly involved in the production process (Level 0). It is possible to understand the combination of level 1 and level 0 to create smart devices capable of communicating with Level 2.

Evaluation of the value of the RAMI 4.0 model and hierarchical pyramid model of the IEC: 62264 standards for enterprises in Vietnam.

The RAMI 4.0 model shows that the focus of IR 4.0 is the Smart Factory, or can be understood as the manufacturing enterprise. According to the hierarchical pyramid model of IEC: 62264 standards for Smart Factory, the manufacturers who want to really participate in IR 4.0 need to invest in purchasing smart devices at Level 0 & 1. These intelligent manufacturing devices need to be compatible and synchronized to communicate with SCADA Level 2 monitoring and control systems and process control systems, automatic production line at Level 3 (MES,…) and enterprise level management system (ERP, HCM,…).

It can be seen that, while the deployment of equipment and systems at Levels 3.2 and 2.0 should be considered and noted for compatibility and synchronization to ensure the production line is automated, the implementation of enterprise level management systems at Level 4 can be carried out independently and does not depend on deploying systems at a lower level. Replacing or upgrading old currently-operated equipment and production lines by intelligent, synchronized production equipment and production lines for Levels 3.2 and 2.0 sets up a business problem that requires a small investment which needs to be carefully considered and calculated before implementation. In contrast, replacing or upgrading old systems at Level 4 is completely feasible and can be implemented immediately to give businesses immediate management effects.

The difference between production enterprises and enterprises with no production lines is that the ones with production lines do not need to pay attention to intelligent production equipment, automation systems and process control and automatic production lines at levels 3,2,1,0. In contrast, these companies can completely replace or upgrade the old enterprise management system at Level 4 to immediately join the trend of IR 4.0 and collect the immediate benefits for the management.


By introducing the Reference Architectural Model for Industry 4.0 (RAMI 4.0), hierarchy of tools and production systems, management in a smart factory of the IEC: 62264 industry standard along with the introduction of the concept of a series of enterprise management software (ERP, CRM, HCM, PLM,…) and automation systems and devices (MES, SCADA, RTU, PLC,…), this paper is expected to bring enterprises in Vietnam (including both manufacturing and non-manufacturing enterprises) an overview of the relationship between production equipment, intelligent devices, automation systems, enterprise management IT systems, and jobs that need being implemented and invested to integrate into the 4.0 CMC trend.

This article is also hoped to help enterprises realize that starting up their IR 4.0 business can be started right from new investment or upgrading IT management software (Level 4 of IEC: 62264 standard) in order to improve the efficiency of business management of enterprises because the nature which can be deployed independently does not depend much on the deployment of intelligent devices, systems at all levels Level 3,2,1,0.

The concepts in the article are normalized and widely used in the world and in Vietnam, but the reviews and recommendations are personal and only for reference.

Dr. Le Quoc Cuong – FPT IS

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