Biologicalisation: Biological transformation in manufacturing

Gerald Byrne*, Dimitri Dimitrov, Laszlo Monostori, Roberto Teti, Fred van Houten, Rafi Wertheim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


A new emerging frontier in the evolution of the digitalisation and the 4th industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) is considered to be that of “Biologicalisation in Manufacturing”. This has been defined by the authors to be “The use and integration of biological and bio-inspired principles, materials, functions, structures and resources for intelligent and sustainable manufacturing technologies and systems with the aim of achieving their full potential.” In this White Paper, detailed consideration is given to the meaning and implications of “Biologicalisation” from the perspective of the design, function and operation of products, manufacturing processes, manufacturing systems, supply chains and organisations. The drivers and influencing factors are also reviewed in detail and in the context of significant developments in materials science and engineering. The paper attempts to test the hypothesis of this topic as a breaking new frontier and to provide a vision for the development of manufacturing science and technology from the perspective of incorporating inspiration from biological systems. Seven recommendations are delivered aimed at policy makers, at funding agencies, at the manufacturing research community and at those industries involved in the development of next generation manufacturing technology and systems. It is concluded that it is valid to argue that Biologicalisation in Manufacturing truly represents a new and breaking frontier of digitalisation and Industry 4.0 and that the market potential is very strong. It is evident that extensive research and development is required in order to maximise on the benefits of a biological transformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalCIRP journal of manufacturing science and technology
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • Bio-inspired
  • Bio-integrated
  • Bio-intelligent
  • Biological transformation
  • Biologicalisation in Manufacturing
  • Cyber-physical systems
  • Digitalisation
  • Industrie 4.0
  • Industry 4.0
  • International perspective
  • Manufacturing
  • n/a OA procedure


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