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Critical Review and Analytical Energetic Assessment of Key-parameters for Industry 4.0 Development in Italy through a Cross-comparison with the EU Digitalization Scenarios

Review paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 12, Issue 2, June 2024, 1120499
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13044/j.sdewes.d12.0499
Giulia Bellini1 , Francesca Bazzocchi1, Marco Borgarello2, Simone Maggiore2, Stefano Moscarelli1
1 Ricerca Sistema Energetico (RSE S.p.A.), Milan, Italy
2 Ricerca sul Sistema Energetico - RSE S.p.A., Milano, Italy


The term Industry 4.0 has been coined in Germany in 2011 and since then, it has officially started the so-called fourth industrial revolution. In the herein presented review, the industrial digitalization process of Italy is explored and cross-compared to the German one, in order to unearth and analyze the intrinsic systemic key-elements, which are responsible for the differentiated digital industrial development among the examined countries. As evidenced by the analytical study, which also entails the results of a survey conducted over 238 companies in Italy, the main responsible factor for the industrial digital gap among the countries seems to be represented by a digital holistic-based approach across the entire value chain of the product. This finding, besides being reflected into the very different nature of the two Industry 4.0 policy frameworks, is also supported by survey data, since the majority of the investigated performed interventions can mainly be applied to the production process, rather than to other crucial steps of the value chain. In this regard, the survey analysis suggests also that a lack of perception of the beneficial potential effect of the change of “digital paradigm” from the production process to the product itself is yet lacking within the Italian industrial mindset. Finally, the survey results support the widely discussed synergistic beneficial effect among ecology and digitalization. Indeed, the majority of the interviewed companies have reported that many of the carried-out digitalization measures have positively affected the energetic and sustainability-related dimensions.

Keywords: Digitalization; Industry 4.0; Italy; Digital holistic approach; Artificial Intelligence

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