International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies
IEC White Papers
IEC White Paper: Factory of the future

from the IEC Webstore

Free download




Find out more

Find out more about the IEC's involvement in the Smart Energy, Smart Grid and Renewable energies sections of the website.


White Paper

Factory of the future


The ultimate goal of the factory of the future is to interconnect every step of the manufacturing process. Factories are organizing unprecedented technical systems integration across domains, hierarchy, geographic boundaries, value chains and life cycle phases. This integration will only be a success if the technology is supported by global consensus-based International Standards.


What will manufacturing look like in the future? How will humans and machines communicate with each other? Will our work environment adapt to our needs? Nimble, adaptive and intelligent manufacturing processes will be the measurement of success. The combination of “virtual” and “real” to gain a full view of the complete value chain will allow factories to make products more rapidly, more efficiently and with greater return, using fewer resources.


To keep up with the rapid pace of advancing technology, manufacturers will need to invest in both digital technologies and highly skilled technical talent to reap the benefits offered by these fast-paced factories.


This White Paper assesses the potential global needs, benefits, concepts and pre-conditions for the factory of the future. It identifies the business trends in related technologies and markets and their impact on data, people, technologies and Standards.


The White Paper was developed by the IEC Market Strategy Board (MSB) in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA.