Is Industry 4.0 a revolution or a marketing ploy? While the improvements that are happening right now are important for urban society on the whole, a more in-depth view of the concept is required to match the pace of the progress. It may appear simple at first glance, yet it conceals much more than meets the eye. Let's go right into why now is exactly the time to talk about industry 4.0.
What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 has been regarded as a term for the present trend of automation and data interchange in manufacturing technologies, encompassing cyber-physical networks, the Internet of things, cognitive computing, and cloud computing, in addition to the creation of the smart factory. These smart facilities are built with cutting-edge sensors, software applications, and robotics that cumulate and interpret data to aid decision-making. When data from production processes is combined with operational data from ERP, supply chain, customer service, and other system elements, previously fragmented data gains new levels of transparency and clarity.
How does Industry 4.0 have an impact?
The terms "Industry 4.0" and "fourth industrial revolution" are frequently used interchangeably. It is distinguished by, among other things,
- significantly more automation than what was in the 3rd industrial revolution,
- Cyber-physical systems, facilitated by Industrial IoT, are linking the digital and physical worlds.
- a transition away from a centralized industrial management system toward one in which smart items define the production stages
- control systems and closed-loop data models
- Product modification and personalization.
With reference designs, standards, and even concepts in transformation, Industry 4.0 is a strategy, practice, and idea in motion. In essence, the technologies that enable Industry 4.0 make use of existing data as well as a multitude of new data sources, such as data from connected assets, to gain productivity improvements on various levels, renovate existing production processes, create end-to-end data streams from across the value chain, and recognize new technologies and business models.
The path before Industry 4.0
The historical context of Industry 4.0 is relevant to understanding its current depth because it gives us a view of how long technology has come, and how big of a change Industry 4.0 represents in the present. Let’s take a look from the beginning:
- First Industrial Revolution: It was a revolution, and it would help propel industrial reformations with railways, mechanization of production, and tons of pollution, owing to the advent of steam machines, the use of water and steam power, and a variety of other facilities.
- Second Industrial Revolution: The second industrial revolution, which began a century later, brought assembly lines and the utilization of oil, gas, and electricity. These new sources of power, along with more improved communications through telephone and telegraph, enabled manufacturing processes to achieve mass output and several new levels of automation.
- Third Industrial Revolution: The upsurge of computer systems, computer networks such as WAN, LAN, etc., the rise of robotics in production, connectivity, and, of course, the emergence of the Internet, that big game breaker in the ways data is handled and communicated, and the evolvement to e-anything variants of previously brick and mortar settings with far more automation were all part of the third Industrial Revolution.
- Fourth Industrial Revolution: We transition from having only the Web and the client-server design to boasting widespread mobility, the linkage of digital and physical settings (in production referred to as Cyber Physical Systems), the convergence of IT and Communications, and all of the aforementioned technology solutions (Internet of Things, Big Data, cloud, etc.) with increased accelerators such as advanced robotics and AI/cognitive that facilitate Industry 4.0 with increased automation in completely fresh ways that lead to a huge amount of opportunities to restructure and truly fully automate and take the industry to many higher levels.
What is Industry 4.0 doing in the current time?
While many businesses are still indifferent towards how Industry 4.0 will affect their business or are having difficulty finding the skill or expertise to know how to best incorporate it for their specific needs, other businesses are already making changes and planning towards the upcoming years where smart machines will help them succeed. The benefits are right within reach, and whoever starts today gets the head start.
Big Data, analytics, cloud computing, AI, and simulations, to mention a few, are all about Industry 4.0's versatility, flexibility, modularity, expandability, and quick implementation and integration features. These skills may be seen in several of the current Industry 4.0 elements, and they're just becoming better with time. Several analysts and experts also focus on other digital tools as Industry 4.0 enablers. One example is mobile devices and technologies. Companies that are quick to adapt and integrate, have already started reaping the benefits of all these factors. Time is of essence, and the faster to act will consequently be ahead in the race.
The time to start running the race of Industry 4.0 is now.