Industry 4.0: How Technology is Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Industry


Industry 4.0 may appear like a SimCity-style tycoon video game but this is the most significant shift that has hit manufacturing in the world since the advent of automation.

The focus is on automated robotics as well as new methods of human-machine communication and quantities of data as well as increased connection, Industry 4.0 is poised to modernize manufacturing and increase the competitiveness of industrial production in western countries.

Alongside the emerging Internet of things (IoT) Industry 4.0 gives Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Industry the capability to gather, analyze and take action on massive quantities of data like never before. Then, they can initiate those actions by using extremely efficient, automated robots. The result? A better product with a lower operating cost.

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is also known as manufacturing 4.0 is the fusion of manufacturing operations and IT and the development of technology that is digital in manufacturing. Mark Holleran, formerly the CEO of Xplore Technologies, says it signifies an “holistic shift from centralized to decentralized manufacturing,” that requires the re-engineering of processes, people and business structure, as well as technology.

“Technology, including advanced robotics and artificial intelligence, sophisticated sensors, cloud computing, IoT, data capture and analytics, and digital fabrication … are all coalescing into the ushering in of this next industrial revolution,” Holleran explained to Business News Daily.

Here’s a brief overview of the key components that are paving the way to Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Industry and how they function. Together, they build an advanced ecosystem of smart devices that help create an optimal effective and efficient work environment.

Internet of things

As the amount of smart devices and the volume of data that is captured to be analyzed and stored expands, connectivity and communications will only get more crucial. Within the company as well as with third-party partners companies will require information to be transferable and compatible in order to allow an increased level of operations.

Declan Keir-Saksis the Director of Desk era the company, said IoT can be the platform that allows detailed information that are provided by high-tech solutions to come together to create an integrated, business-level view for the modern-day manufacturers.

“IoT manufacturing enables virtual tracking of capital assets, processes, resources and products,” Keir-Saks explained. “This gives enterprises full visibility, which streamlines business processes and optimizes supply and demand.”

If properly implemented, decision-makers will have access to greater and more accurate information as well as automated processes and the ability to act in a proactive or preventive basis to avoid downtime and any other issues that could cause production output to be impacted.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

The data generated through sensors and IoT-driven systems is far too large for human beings to properly examine. AI machines and algorithms for machine learning can interpret the data and identify any anomalies, or provide recommendations.

“[AI and machine learning] can help detect early warning signals of assets [becoming] unhealthy,” said Derick Jose co-founder and chief information expert for Flutura Decision Sciences and Analytics. “For example, top-drive RPM temperature anomalies could be [the] signature of an impending breakdown.”

Additionally, AI serves to improve efficiency throughout the entire process, Jose said. With the ability to quickly provide predictions on the effect of minor modifications, decision makers can be aware of the impact before implementing something innovative.

AI is particularly beneficial when it comes to processing the huge amounts of data captured by IoT-enabled sensors and sensors. The vast quantities of data are nearly impossible for human operators to comprehend, which is why the ability of computers actually makes the information that is captured useful.

Mixed reality

Mixed reality also is an important aspect of Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Industry. Companies are already offering mixed reality gear such as glasses and helmets to employees, hoping that the enhanced communication and visualisation of data in context will improve productivity and make better decisions.

“Mixed reality is a real game-changer in manufacturing,” Tim Lynch, CEO of Psychsoftpc Tim Lynch, CEO of Psychsoftpc, said. “For repair personnel, it allows them to ‘see inside’ the machine that needs repair or ‘see through walls’ to the cables and pipes behind to know exactly where to drill or cut.”

Add these capabilities to the predictive maintenance that is enabled via IoT and AI and you’ve got an ideal recipe for high-tech success. If data indicates that a machine is running hot for instance and machine-learning algorithms determine that it is unusual enough to warrant sending maintenance, technicians can use mixed reality to identify if an appliance is beginning to overheat and exactly what components are being affected.

To take it one level higher, consider that the maintenance worker who diagnoses the affected machine, but lacks the knowledge to resolve the issue. Mixed reality devices are able to connect someone with the right skills to the technician at the site and then guide them step-by-step, using digital overlays, the best way to fix the issue.

To aid in training Mixed reality can create an environment in which employees can be able to experience virtual scenarios that are relevant to their work without putting themselves at risk by using the actual equipment or manufacturing downtime.

“In training, workers can practice on virtual products to gain experience that will carry over to the real world,” Lynch explained. “They can be put in simulated situations that they could face in doing their job and learn how to handle them virtually before being exposed to them at work.”

3D printing

3D printers have been around since 1983, although they’re typically within the control of large businesses. In the past, the word used was “rapid prototyping,” and they’re certainly still doing this in the present. However, it’s not just about prototyping anymore. 3D printers are also used in manufacturing that is low-volume, such as to test products or to bring prototypes to trade shows.

“When small companies develop new products and need to make 50 parts to test, or just to bring to a trade show, tooling up for traditional manufacturing can be very expensive,” Doug Collins, owner of Avid 3D Printing, said. “They might not have the capital to tackle [Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Industry]. 3D printers allow low-volume production without as much investment so they can save that capital for the other important stuff, like marketing.”

As technology continues to advance, it’s becoming increasingly common to see 3D printed components in larger projects. An example is the 3D-printed fuel nozzle that is a part of the CFM LEAP aircraft engine. By printing specific components manufacturers can cut down on time and money while creating identical products.

What’s the benefits?

With this huge promise and cutting-edge technology Industry 4.0 demands a substantial upfront investment. According to a survey in 2017 of 1,000 medium and small Canadian manufacturing companies, for instance those who adopted digital technology have invested an average of $250,000. For larger enterprises it is likely that the price will be greater. However, the anticipated return connected, smart devices as well as the automated process of production will yield a significant ROI.

“These software systems do more than trade data,” explained Srivats Ramaswami, the CTO of 42Q. “They eliminate much of the human intervention that goes with managing them. This next generation of automation – utilizing big data, analytics and artificial intelligence – is one of the most important drivers behind digital manufacturing and Industry 4.0.”

Ramaswami said that the benefits that manufacturers can benefit from the implementation of these techniques include:

  • Improved competition. Outsourcing to low-wage regions around the world was a requirement for companies who wanted to stay competitive. However, technological advances allow countries with more wealth to be competitive once more. In the end, Ramaswami said, manufacturers are now able to choose their locations that are based on “technical capabilities and proximity to consumer demand, rather than decisions driven primarily by wages.”
  • More efficiency. Automation, analytics and machine-learning algorithms have taken a lot of the work involved in completing a step away from human operators. This means faster and more efficient production round all hours of the day, with humans primarily in charge of monitoring and maintaining the systems.
  • Revenue and profit growth. Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Industry not just creates an improved and more efficient quality manufacturing process as well as enabling things like proactive and preventive maintenance and upgrades. This means less time to downtime as well as less capital investment over the course of time.
  • Optimization of manufacturing processes. With more connectivity sharing data, better analytics, collaboration across all supply chains is feasible, leading to greater efficiency, efficiency and even innovation in the long term throughout the manufacturing industry.

“Machine-to-machine communications and integrated systems will drive greater collaboration among producers, suppliers and other stakeholders along the value chain,” Ramaswami stated.

  • Continuous recording as well as the ability to trace. The immense capture and analysis of data improve record-keeping and capabilities to search. The implications range from compliance with government regulations to satisfaction of customers.

“Unlike traditional relationships where feedback on products and services takes time to gather, the automated closed-feedback loop is an inherent component of Industry 4.0,” Ramaswami declared. “The seamless record-keeping enabled by digital systems will speed traceability, while limiting liabilities, warranty costs and recalls.”

Despite these benefits However, the change is in its early stages. According to research by Capgemini , only 6 percent of companies are classified as “digital masters” that have made it to a higher level in digitizing production.

However, the trend is real. Capgemini reports that 76% percent of manufacturing companies currently have an intelligent factory plan currently in development or currently in the process of forming. It is evident the fact that Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Industry and the most advanced digital technologies are likely to become the norm in manufacturing across the globe. Companies that embrace the technology early are more likely to be competitive in the coming years.



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