Working Paper Ircres-CNR 04/2018                            
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Le tecnologie di Industria 4.0 e le PMI

Technologies of Industry 4.0 and SMEs



a CNR-IRCRES, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di ricerca sulla crescita economica sostenibile, via Real Collegio 30, Moncalieri (TO) – Italy

corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



This paper concerns a study on the next production revolution called Industry 4.0 based on confluence of various technologies, mainly digital, with far reaching consequences especially for productivity and employment. This study considers the implementation of Industry 4.0 in SMEs and industrial districts that represent a great part of Italian industry. The latter represents certainly a major challenge to such implementation because of the existence of various obstacles constituted by availability of investment capitals, small scale productions and tendency to develop and to adopt only incremental innovations rather than radical ones typical of Industry 4.0. In this work we study the technologies involved in Industry 4.0, taking account of existence of specific technologies, called enabling technologies, whose confluence in the manufacturing industry determines the implementation of Industry 4.0. Such enabling technologies originate from the major fields of R&D activities such as nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, digital technologies and artificial intelligence (AI). In this paper we study the dynamic and possible evolution characterizing the formation of the various enabling technologies in a sort of ramification process, using specific models of technology, technology innovation and R&D, and their relation with manufacturing in SMEs and industrial districts. The results of the study underlines the importance of AI in determining possibilities and limits to Industry 4.0, the necessity to disrupt the tendency of SMEs in adopting only incremental innovations, the existence of “intranality effects” raising difficulties from the supply chain, and the importance of technology consulting firms in the integration of ICT in operating technologies of a manufacturing activity.


 Keywords: Industry 4.0, SMEs, industrial districts, technology innovation.


JEL codes: O14, O25, O33


DOI: 10.23760/2421-7158.2018.004


How to Cite this Article

Bonomi A., 2018. “Le Tecnologie di Industria 4.0 e le PMI”, Working Paper IRCrES, 4(4), 1-27,



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