From water-powered manufacturing to the factory system to the assembly line, business, technology, and manufacturing has gone through many changes and adaptations. With each industrial revolution, disruptive technology brought about advancements and production process changes. They were called revolutions because they changed the course of business. Today, industries are once again in the midst of a revolution. Readout below to know more about what is industry 4.0.
A fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, is bringing about new trends in automation and data exchange that are creating intelligent manufacturing processes. The Industry 4.0 definition is characterized by disruptive technologies such as cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing, and cognitive computing. Smart factories in the era of Industry 4.0 have emerged as places where machines are operating collaboratively with humans, navigating environments autonomously, and making decisions in real-time. Let’s take a closer look at Industry 4.0 and its implications for smart manufacturing.
Industry 4.0 technologies are enhancing computers and automation from the third Industrial Revolution with smart and autonomous systems spurred on by data and machine learning. The Industrial Internet of Things and cyber-physical systems are driving the process changes from this new revolution. With these incorporated technologies creating smart manufacturing, the supply chain is also getting a “smart” makeover.
The future of manufacturing is now dependent on smart factories impacting everything from production to warehousing and logistics. This is creating smart products, creating new business models, and impacting related industries.
Beyond the supply chain, the impacts of Industry 4.0 are extending much further. This fourth industrial revolution is also creating connections with back-end systems and creating a network with enterprise resource planning. These digital technologies paired with new connections mean that manufacturers have an unprecedented level of visibility and control. If businesses are ready to embrace it, Industry 4.0 technologies can impact efficiencies, productivity, and ultimately profits.
Industry 4.0 and Computerization
An entirely new business model was created when computers were incorporated into manufacturing as automation and communication technology. Industry 4.0 is now improving on that technology by creating a collaborative relationship between computers and machines.
New technology allows the different pieces of the process to communicate with one another and make decisions without human input. The Internet of Things has allowed for networks of physical objects and machines embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies to communicate, collect and share data.
This has become the basis for this new revolution. As a result, machines can make production decisions and products can self-report about their health and longevity. From start to finish, new computer capabilities and processes are creating autonomous smart factories and driving this movement.
Industry 4.0 Applications
As discussed, collaborative machines and processes allow for the collection and reporting of massive amounts of data. These capabilities create opportunities for machines to make decisions about maintenance, performance, and other issues. Data patterns and insights can be gleaned in real-time, unlike before. Industry 4.0 technology provides machines and manufacturers the ability to optimize operations quickly and efficiently.
As an example, machines in smart manufacturing facilities might be able to identify problems during a specific step in the process and make corrections. Production and profits can be maximized in real-time because problems like this can be identified and corrected quickly.
Additionally, smart supply chains can also automatically adjust to new information or challenges. Computers and equipment can communicate and proactively deal with weather delays or packaging issues that can interrupt a shipment. Machines can automatically adjust and modify manufacturing priorities as issues arise. In the same vein, autonomous equipment, vehicles, and robots can adjust to new data and speed up or slow down movement and shipping processes.
While technologies are creating faster and more efficient manufacturing, the full impact might not have been realized yet. Industries are in the midst of this fourth industrial revolution and it’s still evolving. As factories are getting smarter and processes become more automated and collaborative, however, the power and potential of the Industry 4.0 movement are being realized.