1.What Is Industry 4.0?
“Industry 4.0” refers to the fourth industrial revolution, which affects every manufacturing domain and comprises advanced manufacturing technologies that capture, optimize, and deploy data.
Put simply, Industry 4.0 makes factories “smart.” Such technologies as the industrial Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and cyber-physical systems interact seamlessly, communicating and adjusting continuously. Businesses that fully understand and capture the value of these advantages will be best positioned to take on the challenges that lie ahead.
1. Additive Manufacturing. The classic example of additive manufacturing is 3D printing. Instead of prototyping individual components, companies can now produce small batches of customized products. The resulting advantages include the speedy manufacturing of complex, lightweight designs.
2. Augmented Reality. Augmented reality (AR) systems support a variety of services, such as selecting parts in a warehouse and sending repair instructions over mobile devices. With AR, companies can provide workers with real-time information that improves decision making and work procedures.
3. Autonomous Robots. Autonomous robots can interact with one another and work safely side by side with humans. These robots will cost less and have an increasing range of capabilities over time.
4. Big Data and Analytics. In an Industry 4.0 context, the collection and comprehensive evaluation of data from many different sources—production equipment and systems as well as enterprise- and customer-management systems—will become table stakes.
5. The Cloud. The more production-related initiatives a company undertakes, the more it needs to share data across sites. Meanwhile, cloud technologies continue to get faster and more powerful. Companies will increasingly deploy machine data and analytics to the cloud, thus enabling more data-driven services for production systems.
6. Cybersecurity. It’s no surprise that Industry 4.0 boosts increased connectivity and the use of standard communications protocols. As a result, the need to protect critical industrial systems and manufacturing lines from cybersecurity threats rises dramatically. For this reason, secure, reliable communications, together with sophisticated access management for machines and identity verification of users, are essential.
7. Horizontal and Vertical System Integration. Industry 4.0 allows companies, departments, functions, and capabilities to become much more cohesive. Cross-company, universal data-integration networks evolve and enable truly automated value chains.
8. The Industrial Internet of Things. Industry 4.0 means that more devices are enriched with embedded computing. This process allows devices to communicate and interact both with one another and with more centralized controllers. It also decentralizes analytics and decision making, thus enabling responses in real time.
9. Simulation. Simulations are a cornerstone of the industrial revolution 4.0. They’re used extensively in plant operations to leverage real-time data and to mirror the physical world. Done right, these models allow operators to test and optimize settings in numerous variations, thereby driving down machine setup times and increasing quality.