Even now, we can observe large-scale structural changes taking place in the economy. They will influence a lot of aspects connected both with businesses and people’s lives in general.
We are talking about Industry 4.0, which is synonymous with the fourth industrial revolution. We can say that business, production, and society are gradually merging with digital technologies.
The technologies that hold great potential are at the heart of this process, and we would like to tell you more about it in this article.
What is Industry 4.0?
This term is mainly applied to the industry and marks one of the main steps of the Fourth Industrial Revolution — production automation and robotization. The latest IT developments come to factories and plants, and they gradually turn the competition of modern technologies into the struggle for technologies.
To put it shortly, we are talking about a high-tech industry development strategy. Nowadays, the company’s success is assessed by its ability to make the production process more autonomous and self-replicating.
The difference between businesses using Industry 4.0 technologies and those refusing from their implementation is almost the same as between people who use computers and common abacuses for calculations.
Businesses will get the following main advantages of implementing Industry 4.0 technologies:
- enterprise productivity enhancement;
- production cost reduction;
- process optimization and downtime minimization;
- competitive growth on the market;
- the can easier to experiment with products and test new prototypes;
- their final product becomes more sophisticated and efficient.
Five Key Industry 4.0 Technologies
Industry 4.0 is not something solid. It engages multiple technologies used in different contexts. Below are some of the main elements that constitute Industry 4.0.
Industrial IoT Platforms
In the industry, IoT, or the Internet of Things, connects and coordinates data, machines, and people within the manufacturing process. In essence, this technology simultaneously uses sensors, robots, and data and makes them communicate with each other during product manufacturing.
Smart factory is impossible without the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors and gauges connect to IoT platforms that analyze incoming data. The analysis results become the basis used to further plan the work of systems and the operation of individual elements which are parts of those systems.
Big Data and Analytics
The fourth industrial revolution is impossible without the prompt processing of a huge amount of data supplied by thousands of sensors and smart devices. Imagine that all the machines at a factory have installed sensors used to collect data on the machines’ condition and running time.
Then the data is processed in real time, and employees get notifications about future malfunctions or failures of production operations. This approach allows predicting problems in equipment operation and planning equipment maintenance long before some failures occur.
The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines Smart Manufacturing like this:
Smart manufacturing implies fully-integrated, collaborative manufacturing systems that respond in real time to meet changing demands and conditions in the factory, in the supply network, and in customer needs.
The Smart Factory concept provides for the seamless interconnection of individual production stages, starting from design and finishing with specific actuating units. Furthermore, machines and equipment are expected to improve processes through self-optimization in the nearest future.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence and machine learning allow smart systems to respond to various external factors, adapting their operation mode to current conditions. Due to that, production processes remain uninterrupted.
In essence, Smart Factory is an industrial facility where equipment and systems are interlinked by modular devices. Consequently, these devices allow industrial equipment to learn and adapt its processes, thus making the factory “smart.”
With the appearance of IoT and Industry 4.0, companies started generating data at mind-bending rates, making it impossible to process it manually and creating the necessity to deploy infrastructures able to store and manage such amounts of data more efficiently.
Cloud computing technologies work well for these purposes, as they allow quick access to the necessary infrastructure, using minor financial investments. Please, read more on this topic in our article “What is Cloud Migration? Benefits and Risks for Business”.
The Changes that the Development of Industry 4.0 will Lead to in the Nearest Future
Industry 4.0 is already starting to change the world, and a new industrial revolution becomes inevitable. In essence, autonomous industries created and the implemented technologies listed in this article will eventually influence all spheres of public life.
The share of manual labor will gradually decrease because machines will perform most routine operations. A large amount of data will both improve the quality of products, which become cheaper to manufacture, and make many things more customized. That will give the global economy a powerful boost, ensure the growth of global GDP, and lead to the transformation of many industries.
If you want to keep pace with your competitors and are ready to take full advantage of the potential of technology to develop your business, contact us right away to get free advice.