Across industries Industry 4.0 is flaming like never before. The word took the mainstream as the augmentation of internet swept across the globe. New manufacturing processes, more automation and more connected plants. Industry 4.0 changes the complete processes of how industry used to work earlier asserting the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. Interconnected, communicating, analyze, and use information to drive further intelligent action back in the physical world is all what Industry 4.0 promises and is already delivering towards it. Industry 4.0 also keeps the potential to untangle globalisation. But still reports cite that thought-leaders and many senior executives are still not prepared for Industry 4.0. The shift to real-time access to data and intelligence enabled by Industry 4.0 would fundamentally transform the way they conduct business. A combination of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things and the Internet of Systems make Industry 4.0 possible and the smart factory a reality.
The concept of Industry 4.0 however, is not a simple one. It brings along many technologies and is used in a variety of different contexts. The manufacturing 4.0 is an evident example of the connected world in what we live in today. Manufacturing 4.0 often taken as the synonym of Industry 4.0 is the convergence of many technologies working in equivalence with precision. Automation, cyber physical systems, cloud computing and the emerging cognitive technologies are drawing new dimensions for Manufacturing 4.0. Manufacturing 4.0 is said to being down cost of plants and bring a whole new scalable and seamless experience for manufacturers.
Our Manufacturing 4.0 offer consists in a blend of consulting and engineering services which provide not only business and technology advisory about advanced manufacturing technologies but also implementation of new processes and solutions on the shopfloor. It is organized around 4 main areas of focus: Connected factory, Smart factory, Digital & Virtual Factory, Advanced Manufacturing technologies.
Factories are changing processes and the ways it used to work earlier. Tedious and furore working cultures inside the plants has challenged seamless production. Hence, embedded with technology and automation is getting a form stating ‘Smart Factory’. Smart Factory is defining new ways how plants and industries can operate. Question first comes what is a smart factory? So, Smart Factory is a changing environment or say adoption of smart technologies where machinery and equipment are able to improve processes through automation and self-optimization, mostly with the help of connected things and evaluation and processing of data to make itself smart. Real manufacturing world is converging with the digital manufacturing world to help enable organizations to plan it digitally and project the entire lifecycle of products and production facilities.
The factory of the future operates autonomously and can run diagnostics required to identify and repair any malfunctions, without having to halt the entire production line. Digitization and adoption of digital products and services is transforming the way we process materials and make products. Data is the new crude oil. Hence, data amalgam with IoT and cloud is bringing up enormous possibilities. Factory 4.0 has the power to completely reshape manufacturing. Smart Factory or say Factory 4.0 is often a synonym. In both the scenarios, sensors play a crucial role. Depending on what they’re monitoring, sensors in Factory 4.0 can be placed on or inside machines, at designated workstations, on devices carried by personnel, or in part of the factory’s existing systems such as the HVAC or security network. Hence, factory 4.0 is the future and present is evolving and taking shape through board meeting of every factory. Reports say, implementing changes to a manufacturing system is a complex and costly process, but the use cases driving companies to adopt Factory 4.0 and Quality 4.0 are highly compelling, with the potential to begin positively affecting ROI within a single quarter.
Industry 4.0 Trends
There are not one characteristic or technology which supports the evolution and the bullish market of Industry 4.0. There are many facets to it and still Industry 4.0 is evolving as 5G seems to be on the verge. Not just that alongside, manufacturing technologies are also transforming and evolving at a rapid pace. With growing competitiveness and lower time-to-market upfront product design and cycle to traversing end-product for the market has to be quite vigorous. These all aspects are helping shape Industry 4.0 trends in 2019.
Below we draw few out of many trends which we think will chant Industry 4.0 trends in 2019:
- Convergence of IT and OT
Unlike in the past IT and OT were completely different in manufacturing business. But time has changed and the convergence of IT and OT is today. In fact, not only was OT traditionally separate from IT, individual systems and equipment within the OT infrastructure also existed in their own silos.
IT – supporting management, sales, accounting, purchasing etc
OT – monitoring and controlling equipment, tools, and other assets on the factory floor
The move to intelligent manufacturing technologies and big data now makes it possible to integrate machines, platforms, and systems across all units of the business. This drives efficiencies, enhances business oversight, improves product quality, makes customer service more effective, and increases productivity. There are challenges, of course, including dealing with compatibility issues and ensuring systems are secure. Overcoming these challenges is possible, though, presenting considerable opportunities for manufacturers.
- Big Data Help Manufacturers Gain More
Big Data is becoming the backbone for today’s businesses. The ability to analyse and optimize data according to the need of the manufacturers and businesses is mind-boggling. Though the potential of Big Data and its usage is still not reached the vessel top in coming time Big data is surely to be the key to every lock which the businesses and the manufacturers open. IoT is transforming almost every surface into a sensor for data collection and providing real-time insights for manufacturers. This ability to collect data from so many sources combined with increasingly powerful cloud computing is finally making big data usable. Manufacturers can slice and dice data in ways that provide them with a comprehensive understanding of their business.
- Digital Twin Technologies
Digital Twins are an emerging technology that will become an increasingly important tool in manufacturing facilities. A Digital Twin is an exact virtual replica, updated in real-time, of a physical object, process, or product. The applications for this technology in manufacturing are far-reaching. One example is having a Digital Twin of a piece of equipment – or your entire production line – where engineers can run simulations and where machine learning technologies can predict breakdowns, plan maintenance schedules, improve OEE, and more.
- Cobots in Industry 4.0
The nascent collaborative robot market grew by more than 60% in 2018, according to a recent research report by Interact Analysis. The industry was worth less than $400 million in 2017 but grew to nearly $600 million in 2018, said the research firm. The infographic below includes some interesting findings about the cobot market. This tells a clear story in how Cobots are emerging in Industry 4.0 or smart factory. Cobots can be used in standalone and individual workstations and do not need to be integrated more deeply into a total production line. They can simply be wheeled into a new position and programmed in a new task quickly.
- VR and AR in Smart Factory
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) is said to create beneficial partnerships between man and machine that positively impact manufacturers. AR and VR create opportunities to connect augmented/virtual displays to online platforms for sharing the views of AR/VR users. AR enables viewing virtual information overlaid on the real world. The next evolution to these assistive technologies is said to be the Mixed reality and its pretty much on the shore for fostering Industry 4.0 and Smart Factory of future.
After knowing about Industry 4.0, smart factory, it’s time we should look into automation 4.0. As the word states automating industries and factories are what describes automation 4.0. The complete use of software, sensors, IoT, IIoT technologies, Big Data, to automate floors and the way of manufacturing is Automation 4.0. Modern control technology, connectivity and efficient big data handling are success factors on your way to smart machine and system concepts. Which data helps to optimize the production process, where the data is analyzed, which algorithms and rules apply to refine them? Smart factories offer numerous opportunities and new, digital business models – on the way, however, there are many challenges to meet.
More usage of digital technologies and advance tools and services with the apt of automation is defining Industrial Automation. Industrial automation is the use of control systems, such as computers or robots, and information technologies for handling different processes and machineries in an industry to replace a human being. It is the second step beyond mechanization in the scope of industrialization. Earlier the purpose of automation was to increase productivity (since automated systems can work 24 hours a day), and to reduce the cost associated with human operators (i.e. wages & benefits). However, today, the focus of automation has shifted to increasing quality and flexibility in a manufacturing process. In the automobile industry, the installation of pistons into the engine used to be performed manually with an error rate of 1-1.5%. Presently, this task is performed using automated machinery with an error rate of 0.00001%.