Since the dawn of the industrial age, the world has experienced three industrial revolutions driven by new disruptive technology and processes. From harnessing water power at the Lowell Mills to the steam engine’s innovation and the assembly line, manufacturing has seen many changes. The entrance into the computer age introduced modernization and drastic changes to the factory system. These industrial movements are referred to as “revolutions” because the innovation that spurred them completely transformed how goods were produced and business was done.
These examples of new technology throughout history didn’t just improve productivity and efficiency slightly, either. They turned the industry on its head. The world is now in the midst of a fourth Industrial Revolution that is known as industry 4.0. Taking automation and innovation into the future, this new wave of disruptive technologies and processes changes the manufacturing industry again. This recent round of reform is propelling automation and computerization from the third industrial revolution into the future. Let’s take a look at the role of Industry 4.0 and how it is impacting global industries today.
So in today’s world of digital processes and assistive technology, what is industry 4.0? In the era of big data and industrial digitalization, more than ever, companies are employing tools and solutions that are transforming processes, machines, and even the products themselves. This new operational evolution stage is blending technology and information into a single unified network for data collection and analysis, evaluation of company development, and performance improvement.
Industry 4.0 is directed by the Industrial Internet of Things and the use of cyber-physical systems. Smart, autonomous systems that utilize computer-based algorithms can monitor and control things like machinery, robots, and vehicles. Industry 4.0 makes the supply chain “smart” by networking products and production processes and allowing them to communicate. This is sparking new ways of production, value creation, and real-time optimization. Industry 4.0 is changing everything from creating things with smart manufacturing and factories to smart warehousing and logistics.
Revolutionized supply chains are only the beginning of the potential benefits of the Industry 4.0 movement. This innovation can also make connections with back-end systems that provide companies with an unmatched level of visibility and control. Ultimately, Industry 4.0 is playing a significant role in the global digital transformation of industries. If companies are ready to embrace it, Industry 4.0 technologies can completely revolutionize how products are designed, made, distributed, and sold.
Industry 4.0 technologies and processes serve to bridge the physical and digital workplace to make smart and autonomous systems a reality. At the heart of these new technologies and systems is the shift of autonomous processes and decision making to cyber-physical systems and machines. This is done by leveraging information systems. These cyber-physical systems can collaborate with data systems and can make and inform decisions.
Areas such as product design and development, remote control, services and diagnosis, condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, system health monitoring, planning, innovation capability, and real-time applications are all impacted by this new collaborative technology. It is revolutionizing end-to-end product life cycles.
Industry 4.0 advancements impact the development of connected, self-aware products that can share information about their health, location, usage level, storage conditions, and more. This technology is basically giving the products that are produced a voice to allow manufacturers to understand them better.
Taking products to this next level is completely changing the business model for the manufacturing industry. The data communicated by the smart products is spurring improvement in everything from product quality and customer service to logistics and research and development. Products produced with Industry 4.0 tools can also predict service needs, receive remote upgrades, and open the door to a new, service-based business.
The new capabilities of Industry 4.0 are influencing the “smart anything” era. It creates everything from smart grids, smart energy, and smart logistics to smart facilities, buildings, and plants. This technology employs the power of the Internet of Things to connect just about anything to the internet. As a result, information allowed to flow back and forth to integrate processes and systems. Smart factories are changing the future of manufacturing.
Industry 4.0 is serving to create highly digitized, mostly autonomous facilities employing communication technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and analytics. Sometimes called factory 4.0, smart manufacturing factories are self-correcting, employ smart manufacturing, and deliver cost-efficient customized products at scale. The use and management of intelligent assets utilized in a smart factory are also made easier because of the built-in sensors to send and receive information and make the assets smart.
Industry 4.0 allows for the intelligent networking of manufacturing machines and processes using information and communication technology. This new industrial revolution is serving to enable autonomous decision-making processes, monitor assets and processes in real-time, and facilitating connected value creation networks. Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing worldwide manufacturing systems.