The coupling between physical and digital production facilities is often dubbed Cyber-Physical Systems, and refers to the thorough digitalisation of both design and production processes. Thus, Cyber-Physical Systems denote not only the actual machines used in production, but also many other parts of value and service chains. By combining digital and physical properties, the entire process of designing for manufactoring is redefined. The same goes for logistics – both inbound and outbound.
The German “High-Tech Strategy” from 2010 identifies an array of growth areas of national interest, including the integration of cyber-physical systems in production.
The resulting national strategy Industrie 4.0 (in German: vier punkt null) aims at making the country globally leading within design and production. The basic idea is simple: Advances in materials and production tech will reverse the flow of outsourcing. In its place, production should be brought home.
Other contries have since adopted the strategy, typically under the English name Industry 4.0. In the USA massive funding is poured into the co-development of new materials and 3D printing. Collectively, budgets for these strategic efforts are in the billions annually.