We are surrounded by digitalization. Real-time data analysis, digitized monitoring, and machine learning are just a few of the technologies introduced by the Industry 4.0 concept.
The opportunities presented by Industry 4.0 are limitless. We are in the midst of a significant transformation in the way we produce products as a result of manufacturing digitization. This transition is so compelling that it is being dubbed Industry 4.0 to represent the fourth manufacturing revolution.
What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is a new phase of the Industrial Revolution that emphasizes interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data.
Industry 4.0, which includes IIoT and smart manufacturing, combines physical production and operations with smart digital technology, machine learning, and big data to create a more holistic and better-connected ecosystem for manufacturing and supply chain management companies.
While each company and organization is unique, they all face the same challenge: the need for connectivity and access to real-time insights across processes, partners, products, and people.
Industry 4.0 is about revolutionizing the way your entire business operates and grows, not just investing in new technology and tools to improve manufacturing efficiency. Industry 4.0 is more than just connecting machines and products via the Internet.
It represents a paradigm shift in how we organize, manage, and conduct business. Each country has attempted to define it in its own context. The lack of a definition is what makes this concept so ambiguous and abstract.
Industrial Evolution from 1.0 to 4.0
Industrial Evolution from 1.0 to 4.0
Before delving into the what, why, and how of Industry 4.0, it's useful to first understand how manufacturing has changed since the 1800s. The world has experienced or is currently experiencing four distinct industrial revolutions.
First Industrial Revolution (The Great Awakening)
The first industrial revolution took place between the late 1700s and early 1800s. During this time period, manufacturing evolved from a focus on manual labor performed by humans and aided by work animals to a more optimized form of labor performed by humans through the use of water and steam-powered engines, as well as other types of machine tools.
The Second Industrial Revolution
In the early twentieth century, the world entered a second industrial revolution with the introduction of steel and the use of electricity in factories.
Manufacturers were able to increase efficiency and make factory machinery more mobile with the introduction of electricity. During this phase, mass production concepts such as the assembly line were introduced to increase productivity.
The Third Industrial Revolution (IIIR)
A third industrial revolution gradually emerged beginning in the late 1950s as manufacturers began to incorporate more electronic—and eventually computer—technology into their factories.
During this time period, manufacturers began to see a shift toward digital technology and automation software over analog and mechanical technology.
Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Over the last few decades, a fourth industrial revolution known as Industry 4.0 has emerged. Industry 4.0 takes the emphasis on digital technology from previous decades to a whole new level, thanks to interconnectivity via the Internet of Things (IoT), access to real-time data, and the introduction of cyber-physical systems.
Industry 4.0 is a more comprehensive, interconnected, and all-encompassing approach to manufacturing. It connects the physical and digital worlds, allowing for improved collaboration and access across departments, partners, vendors, products, and people.
Industry 4.0 empowers business owners to gain a better understanding of and control over all aspects of their operations, as well as to use real-time data to boost productivity, improve processes, and drive growth.
Also Read | IoT in Manufacturing
Technologies Using Industry 4.0
Below are listed technologies that use industry 4.0
Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI)
AI and machine learning enable manufacturers to fully leverage the volume of data generated not only on the factory floor, but also across their business units, partners, and third-party sources. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can improve visibility, predictability, and automation of operations and business processes.
Industrial machines, for example, are prone to failure during the manufacturing process. Using data collected from these assets to perform predictive maintenance using machine learning algorithms can help businesses increase uptime and efficiency.
The cloud is an essential component of any Industry 4.0 strategy. Connectivity and integration of engineering, supply chain, production, sales and distribution, and service are required for smart manufacturing to be fully realized.
Cloud computing enables this. Furthermore, cloud computing allows for the processing of typically large amounts of data being stored and analyzed in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.
Cloud computing can also assist small and medium-sized manufacturers in lowering startup costs by allowing them to right-size their requirements and scale as their business grows.
Manufacturing firms have not always prioritized cybersecurity or cyber-physical systems. However, the same connectivity of operational equipment in the factory or field (OT) that allows for more efficient manufacturing processes also opens up new entry points for malicious attacks and malware.
It is critical to consider a cybersecurity approach that includes both IT and OT equipment when undergoing a digital transformation to Industry 4.0.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
Smart factories rely heavily on the Internet of Things (IoT). Machines on the factory floor are outfitted with sensors that include an IP address, allowing them to communicate with other web-enabled devices. Because of this mechanization and connectivity, large amounts of valuable data can be collected, analyzed, and exchanged.
Because of the demands of real-time manufacturing, some data analysis must be performed at the "edge," or where the data is generated. This shortens the time between data generation and the need for a response.
Detecting a safety or quality issue with the equipment, for example, may necessitate near-real-time action. Depending on network reliability, the time required to send data to the enterprise cloud and then back to the factory floor could be prohibitively long. Edge computing also keeps data close to its source, which reduces security risks.
The Digital Twin
Manufacturers can now create digital twins, which are virtual replicas of processes, production lines, factories, and supply chains, thanks to Industry 4.0's digital transformation. A digital twin is created using data from IoT sensors, devices, PLCs, and other internet-connected objects.
Manufacturers can use digital twins to increase productivity, improve workflows, and design new products. Manufacturers, for example, can simulate a production process to test changes to the process in order to reduce downtime or increase capacity.
Things to Know About Industry 4.0
Here are some of the areas where Industry 4.0 is making a significant contribution to its growth.
Big Data Analysis
This term refers to the complex process of gathering information such as customer preferences, market trends, unknown correlations, and so on.
The challenge with Big Data has been that there are far too many digital touchpoints from which information must be gathered, necessitating the development of the best data interpretation methods.
Big Data and analytics solutions have emerged as a result of Industry 4.0, and they are gradually changing how businesses use data to make better smarter decisions. Machine learning models (such as statistical algorithms and predictive modeling) and data visualization are used in the data analytics process.
Sensors in the Supply Chain
Industrial IoT solutions collect real-time data about the condition and performance of industrial systems and machines using various sensors, such as RFID tags. Networked sensors that monitor processes and transmit data power Industry 4.0.
Manufacturers can use this data to investigate usage patterns, which can then be used to inform product development and improve after-sales service offerings.
These smart sensors help to improve operational efficiency, reduce production costs, and provide insights into customer behavior. Because of the use of sensors, IIoT enables additional use cases such as asset management and tracking.
The process of connecting cyber-physical systems—humans and smart factories interacting via IoT—is referred to as this. Manufacturers can effectively and error-free share information with interoperability.
From self-driving cars to 3D printing, Industry 4.0 is bringing new levels of efficiency, dependability, and accuracy to the manufacturing industry. This is only a preview of what is to come in the fourth wave.
Robots have been around for a long time, but new technology allows them to work faster and smarter. In the future, it would not be surprising to see robots interacting with one another and adjusting their actions for each new product they create.
Instead of mass-producing a flawed product, manufacturers will be able to use robots to analyze each product and identify flaws early on. This will not only lower production costs but will also improve product quality.
Another important area where robotics is gaining traction is collaborative robots, also known as cobots, which are designed to work safely around humans, relieving factory workers of dangerous and repetitive tasks.
Also Read | Self Healing Robots
Benefits of using industry 4.0
Create self-aware, connected products that can share information about their health, location, usage level, storage conditions, and other characteristics.
These smart devices' data can help you improve everything from product quality and customer service to logistics and R&D. They can also predict service needs, receive remote upgrades, and pave the way for new service-based business models.
Almost every physical asset deployed today includes sensors, which, when linked to IoT and analytics, transform enterprise asset management.
Intelligent assets can be used by technicians to monitor asset performance in real-time, anticipate and prevent downtime, use dynamic and predictive maintenance, leverage digital twins, and tightly integrate assets and business processes.
Run smart factories – highly digitized, largely autonomous facilities that make full use of advanced technologies such as Big Data, artificial intelligence, robotics, analytics, and the Internet of Things.
These plants, also known as Factory 4.0, are self-correcting, use smart manufacturing 4.0 processes, and enable the delivery of customized products at a low cost and scale.
People will always be needed, regardless of how self-sufficient your systems become. Empower them with technologies like AI and access to real-time sensor data – so they know what's going on on the shop floor and can make quick decisions and handle problems as they arise. Wearable devices and augmented reality apps can also assist them in problem-solving, monitoring their health, and staying safe.
Benefits Experienced by Companies
In the market, there is a diverse portfolio of Industry 4.0 solutions that are assisting thousands of businesses in transforming their digital supply chain – reinventing production, focusing on customers, and connecting their entire organization.
Here are some of the advantages that businesses are reaping:
Businesses are making data-driven decisions across their operations, improving forecast accuracy, supporting on-time delivery, and developing profit-optimized plans, resulting in radical productivity and automation improvements.
Companies are shaping the future digital supply chain based on cutting-edge planning, ensuring resilience and agility no matter what the market or economy throws at them.
Self-assurance in exploring new business models and seizing opportunities quickly: Businesses are reducing costs, improving market efficiency, and connecting supply chains by sea, land, and air thanks to Industry 4.0 solutions.
Customers are becoming more efficient and cost-effective by going digital – while meeting their environmental objectives without sacrificing other business goals such as profitability and scalability.
The disruption of labor markets caused by automation, improved robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to be the most significant challenge posed by Industry 4.0.As a result, many people will lose their jobs over the next few decades.
Each new industrial revolution, on the other hand, creates a plethora of new jobs. There will be new job opportunities in Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Big Data, 3D Printing, Biotechnology, nanotechnology, aerospace, and many other industries.
As a result, Industry 4.0 will create opportunities while also removing them. It is up to each individual and each business to adapt to Industry 4.0, just as previous generations had to adapt to Industries 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0.
Those who can adapt well will be able to capitalize on all of the exciting new technologies. Finally, Industry 4.0 has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of billions of people on the planet.