Standards & Guidelines

Standards, Norms and Reference Architecture

Advances in manufacturing, through Industry 4.0, are changing the face of Australian industry in specific sectors, including defence, construction, medical technology and food and beverages. Industry 4.0 refers to the smart use of data and digital technologies to improve business processes and production systems in the manufacturing sector. The growing footprint of Industry 4.0 has the potential to make an even larger impact across Australia, unlocking benefits for industry, workers and the broader community. It can do so in many ways, including through enabling greater efficiencies in production, leading to more and better products and services, as well as unleashing opportunities for upskilling, to maintain quality jobs.

Standards are integral to the transition to industry 4.0 and can enable Australian businesses to optimise their supply chain processes, reduce risks, eliminate inefficiencies, and improve productivity.

But realising, and sharing, the benefits of Industry 4.0 more widely, relies on having both a clear strategy and the adoption of supporting infrastructure, including Standards in specific areas, supported by industry, government, workers and researchers. Our 2017 report on the opportunity presented by Industry 4.0 for Australia, noted:

“A uniform vision for Industry 4.0 is necessary in order to provide a target against which a comprehensive gap analysis can be performed and a strategy created. Without this, Australia will lose its ability to make complex and innovative products and services and consequently miss out on accessing opportunities associated with major infrastructure procurement such as rail, shipping and defence projects.”

This Workstream is focused on accelerating this journey and ensuring that Australia is an active participant in developing a coherent strategy, setting Standards, and not just using them. This involves a stepwise process of developing use cases, reference models and then clearly identifying standardisation needs and opportunities to collaborate globally.

Work underway

The following initiatives are already underway internationally within the Standards world to propel us forward when it comes to sharing the opportunities and benefits of Industry 4.0:

  • ISO/TMBG/SMCC Smart Manufacturing Coordinating Committee. The highest decision-making body of the ISO, the Technical Management Board (TMB), has convened an expert group to shape a response to the use of Standards across the ISO, including around an agreed scope of what constitutes smart manufacturing.
  • The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has established a Systems Committee on Smart Manufacturing. This seeks to “provide coordination and advice in the domain of Smart Manufacturing to harmonize and advance Smart Manufacturing activities in the IEC.”
  • Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1, which co-ordinates key ICT-related standardisation activities between the ISO and IEC, has already turned its mind to these issues. One key area is 3-D printing and scanning, which is underpinning advances in everything from med-tech to construction. Working Group 12, within JTC 1, is currently exploring 3-D Printing and Scanning, with experts nominated from member countries to shape future standards in these areas.

There are a range of other Committees responsible for Standards development in specific discrete areas relevant to powering industry 4.0. These include ISO/TC 299 (Robotics) and ISO/TC 184. (Automation systems and integration), for example.

Closer to home, Standards Australia has undertaken significant work in supporting specific standards development initiatives in new and emerging areas relevant to industry 4.0, including energy (in relation to cyber security) and hydrogen.  In late 2018, we released a Hydrogen Standards Forum Report and, in early 2019, we released a roadmap on grid cyber security, which is becoming increasingly important in an era of distributed energy too.

Opportunities to collaborate

There is growing awareness of the need for Standards to power industry 4.0. Making Standards widely used and effective requires clear local Australian case studies of their adoption and implementation. This presents an opportunity to better share existing best practice, and avenues for influence, in a more readily accessible way. This is the work we will be undertaking collectively in the coming year.

An important goal to keep in mind, given the cross-border, global nature of corporate supply-chains, is International Standards harmonisation. We need to have a degree of global agreement around core standards, to create greater business certainty, facilitate trade, and support global innovation. We have precedent for this – ISO 9001 (Quality management) and ISO 27001 (Information Security) are some historic examples – being adopted across borders, within companies, to great effect, to ensure sound principles of quality management and to protect critical information, respectively.   

Snapshot of relevant International Standards relating to Industry 4.0

  • ISO 9001 (Quality Management)
  • ISO 27001 (Information Security)
  • ISO 15926 (Industrial Automation Systems and Integration)
  • ISO 12100 (12100 – Machinery Safety)
  • ISO/TR 22100-4 (Safety of machinery – Relationship with ISO 12100 – Part 4: Guidance to machinery manufacturers for consideration of related IT-security (cyber security) aspects)

For further information on this Workstream, please contact:


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