Industry 4.0: Transforming Manufacturing

Automation, real-time data, artificial intelligence, IoT, IIoT, etc., are now synonyms for manufacturing.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Managers are utilizing advanced technologies to build a holistic and more connected ecosystem for meeting customer demands. This need to connect and access real-time insight across processes, products, and people is driving a new phase in the Industrial Revolution-Industry 4.0! The transition is changing the way a manufacturing facility operates, and it is slowly paving the way for an age of Smart Factories.

In the current digital age, the connected factories are a sign of the smart future work industry, which is contributing to industrial performance at multiple levels.

Revolution Journey in Industrial Vertical

Industry 1.0

This age represents the birth of a mechanized manufacturing plant culture throughout the globe. If we are going back to an age, manufacturing chores have been carried out manually or using animals between the late 1700s and the early 1800s. The water and steam-powered motors used to carry out the same activities were more complicated. The idea of mass commodity manufacturing arose with the advent of water and steam as the main power source.

Industry 2.0

At the beginning of the 20th century, the introduction of steel and electricity was the Second Industrial Revolution. The revolution caused by electricity-powered equipment resulted in increased production and efficiency. Machines in factories have begun to become more mobile. The mass manufacturing procedure of the items was further simplified. In the manufacturing sector, the introduction of electricity to powered engines was a turning point.

Industry 3.0

The electronics industry revolution was sparked by advances in the electronics industry, which emerged from electricity. By introducing programmable logic controllers, transistors, integrated circuits, and more, automation of electronics machinery became possible, and the speed and accuracy of goods produced steadily grew. While the hardware was increasing in manufacturing plants, it became necessary to control these devices via software, which led to the IT boom! The revolution created by electronics and IT again changed the way goods were produced.

Industry 4.0

The fourth industrial revolution was triggered by the need to further transform the way goods are produced and redefine customer experiences. The introduction of the internet and telecommunications changed the way information was exchanged. In factories, combining innovations in the Internet, processes that joined the physical and the virtual worlds called “cyber-physical systems” were introduced. Cyber-Physical Systems bring together computing, networking, and physical devices. With the widespread discussion of seamless connectivity, the boundaries between virtual and physical worlds began to blur even more. Today, we are no longer talking about one or two connected devices, but the possibility of dozens. Hence, the concept of the IIoT (Industrial Internet of things ) emerged, in which devices connected to the internet generate data. When artificial intelligence techniques and deep neural networks are applied to these data sets, the insights gathered help companies make better business decisions. The need to make systems more connected and to access information in real-time in response to ever-increasing customer demands has laid the groundwork for an age of smart manufacturing.

Technologies under Industry 4.0

Connectivity, automation, and optimization are the key drivers of Industry 4.0’s digital transformation. The full potential of the Industry 4.0 movement is realized when several technologies are used in concert.

Industrial Internet of things: The Industrial IoT concept is premised on the possibility of connecting a number of manufacturing devices to the internet, which, when connected, produce a lot of real-time factory data. The “actionable intelligence” collected helps the relevant parties to make data-driven business decisions.

Artificial Intelligence: Eliminating repeated manual work is the key to the new industrial revolution and artificial intelligence plays a huge role in achieving that goal. Deep neural network models, when used on real-time factory data, provide insights that enable businesses to take accurate decisions. Predictive or Conditional insights, on the other hand, enable managers to become more proactive in the face of major disruptions.

Automation: In order to achieve maximum profits, industrial automation must be used to enhance customer experience, thereby making factories more connected. This can be done with robotics or artificial intelligence. Many industries have gotten started automating repetitive tasks that are traditionally done manually.

Cloud Storage and Computing: The term “cloud computing” might sound a little complicated, but all of us have used it in some way. An email or cloud storage is the best example of a cloud computing service that we all use. You don’t need to buy hardware or software — all you need is an internet connection and you are ready to go. If this idea could be applied to the manufacturing industry and managers were able to purchase services over the internet, instead of hardware and software, capital expenditures would be cut significantly and manufacturing efficiency would rise.

Autonomous Robots: Autonomous robots are devices that are programmed to perform functions with little or no human intervention or interaction. They vary widely in size, functionality, mobility, dexterity, intelligence, and cost, from robotic process automation to flying vehicles with artificial intelligence. Autonomous robots can recognize and learn from their environments and take independent decisions. They can be used to improve the speed and accuracy of routine operations, particularly in warehouses and manufacturing facilities, work side-by-side with humans for added efficiency, and reduce the risk of employee injury in hazardous environments. They can also help reduce labor and utilization instability, reduce error rates, and optimize picking, sorting, and storing times.

Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality: Augmented reality, also known as AR or Virtual Reality also known as VR, is a technology that gives the real world an extra dimension by superimposing information, such as text, images, and sound, onto the world as we see it. This creates an interactive experience of an existing real-world environment that can be enhanced by incorporating computer-generated images into it. AR or VR solutions provide a broad range of benefits across manufacturing, repair, and operations. AR solutions are a key component of a digital manufacturing strategy. AR and VR solutions are key elements of maintenance, service, quality assurance, as well as self-learning, and training.

Machine Vision: Machine vision is a series of technologies that give machines a greater awareness of their surroundings, thereby allowing them to perform higher-order image recognition and take decisions based on that factual data. A piece of industrial equipment uses high-fidelity cameras to take digital images of the environment or a workpiece to take advantage of machine vision, which can be captured using an automated guided vehicle (AGV) or robotic inspection station. To manufacture, they ultimately see great success to pass through the quality assurance process (QA) at each manufacturing stage, such as assembly, and maintain higher and more consistent quality levels.

Adopting- Industry 4.0 model for your Unit

Implementing Industry 4.0 will enable organizations to maximize their product life cycle and lead to an improvement in customer service, quality control, and more. For example, engineering, design, sales, and inventory can be improved using the Industry 4.0 model. Below are a few reasons why you should adopt an Industry 4.0 approach to your business for a few quick, non-exhaustive reasons:

  • To stay competitive, you need to invest in systems and processes that will help you improve and your own operation. To optimize logistics and supply chain management, you need to ensure that your organization follows all of the relevant standards and regulations.
  • Modern, innovative Industry 4.0 technologies make your organization more attractive to the younger workforce. Employers investing in such technologies have better opportunities to attract and retain new employees.
  • It enhances and improves the collaboration of your team. The adoption of Industry 4.0 solutions can boost efficiency, improve collaboration across departments, enable predictive and prescriptive analytics, and enable operators, managers, executives to leverage real-time information more effectively. Make better decisions based on intelligence data while managing their day-to-day responsibilities.
  • By using predictive analytics, real-time information, connected machinery, and automation, you can identify and resolve maintenance and supply chain management issues before they become major problems.
  • As a result, you are able to reduce costs, boost profits, and stimulate growth. Industry 4.0 technology helps you manage and optimize all aspects of your manufacturing processes as well as your supply chain. It enables you to take faster, smarter decisions about your business, which can ultimately boost the efficiency of your entire operation.

According to the findings of a new McKinsey survey, three outcomes are possible: a win for companies that have already scaled digital technologies, a reality check for those that are still scaling, and a wake-up call for those that have not yet begun their Industry 4.0 journeys.

To Summarize, Industry 4.0 shall give the following benefits

  • Reduce inspection and maintenance costs
  • Reduce failure related repair or replacement costs
  • Reduced revenue losses due to loss in plant production
  • Enables the condition-based monitoring
  • Deferred capital costs due to load growth or equipment age and condition
  • Improved confidence and security for dynamic overloading performance
  • Detects incipient faults and assist in preventing failures and unplanned outages
  • Provides monitoring and diagnostic for all vital parts by integrating.
  • Increased Knowledge Sharing and Collaborative Working.
  • Improved Productivity. Improved Efficiency Flexibility and Agility.

Industry 4.0 has been a wake-up call for manufacturers who have not implemented it before COVID-19. These manufacturers find themselves struggling during COVID-19, due to a lack of prior experience, sluggish IT/OT technology stacks, and financial pressures.

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Author of articles Why What, How New Age Technology is Influencing Enterprise, and What Measures Should You Take If You Sell That.

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Jayant Ghosh

Jayant Ghosh

Author of articles Why What, How New Age Technology is Influencing Enterprise, and What Measures Should You Take If You Sell That.

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