The Fourth Industrial Revolution is taking the manufacturing industry by storm. With a sizeable advanced manufacturing and automation workforce, and a robust history in manufacturing technology, Michigan is securing its place as a frontrunner in Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 is the continuous automation and digitization of manufacturing technologies to create a “smart factory”; this includes innovations such as additive manufacturing, AI, robotics, augmented and virtual reality, the Cloud, the Industrial Internet of Things, and more. Industry 4.0 allows corporations to enhance their manufacturing and production processes, and streamline communication throughout their facilities without human interference.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is working diligently to provide services and resources for small- to mid-sized companies to optimize their procedures and prepare for the future of manufacturing. In December 2020, in an initiative approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund, MEDC partnered with Automation Alley and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) with the goal of getting 50% of Michigan’s small and mid-size manufacturers in a position to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies by 2025.

In December, Tom Kelly, Executive Director and CEO, Automation Alley, explained the importance of this initiative, “Automation Alley is laser focused on ensuring Michigan small and medium-sized manufacturers are aware of how Industry 4.0 will impact their businesses—and the strategic steps they must take to begin or advance their digital transformation. Technology is moving at break-neck speed, and our manufacturers cannot afford to be left behind. We must take action now if we wish to remain a globally relevant manufacturing powerhouse. We are honored to partner with the MEDC on this initiative to further boost our efforts, and we look forward to welcoming more companies into our ecosystem so they may learn to harness the power of Industry 4.0 and reap its benefits.

The following are some of the action items that the Michigan Strategic Fund have approved for MEDC to begin spreading awareness of the importance of gearing up for Industry 4.0 and the resources available to them:

  • A $2.5 million agreement with Automation Alley to provide outreach and Industry 4.0 readiness assessments to manufacturers across the state.
  • A $3.05 million agreement with MMTC  to provide outreach, education, and Industry 4.0 technical assessments to manufacturers across the state.
  • Authorized up to $2 million in grant funding and approved the issuance of a Request for Proposals from Michigan-based nonprofit or governmental regional organizations for grants to increase manufacturers’ readiness to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies.
  • $1 million to McCann Detroit for an in-state advertising campaign specific to Industry 4.0 awareness and availability of services.

In addition to these resources, MEDC launched an advertising campaign to help raise awareness of the importance of engaging in Industry 4.0 to keep companies competitive. This campaign helps manufacturers learn about the assets provided by the Automation Alley and MMTC partnership.

For resources about incorporating Industry 4.0 into your manufacturing processes, visit