Factory automation has become synonymous with industrial automation and rides on the back of the adoption of Industry 4.0. The contours of this fourth industrial revolution is increasingly shaped by next generation automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. Industrial internet of things (IIoT) seems to lead the way in factory automation. Areas benefitting from developments in factory automation include the automotive, food and beverages, packaging, semiconductors and electronics, and pharmaceutical industries. Factory automation has seen new paradigms in mainstreaming of industrial robots leading to smart factory environment. Next generation robots used in factory automation are inspired by advancements in sensors and new intelligence brought by artificial neural networks. 

Manufacturers across the world are becoming proactive to the dynamic of changing consumer demand and even offering customizations. Hence, they are realigning their production systems by integrating real-time operational intelligence. To this end, they are leveraging the potential of technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning, and IoT to bring improvements across their value chain. The use of machine learning across the supply chain is a case in point. Relentless search for advancement in these technologies will create new avenues for manufacturers to capitalize on. Advancements in machine-to-machine learning protocols and the adoption of better industrial interconnect standards are opening new windows of exciting possibilities. Additive manufacturing techniques are soon likely to become an integral part of factory automation. All these developments will make production systems more intelligent and responsive to emerging consumer needs.

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