Industry 4.0 refers to the digitalization of industrial processes like mass manufacturing. Industry 4.0 is the fourth industrial revolution, a stage of change in the organization of the value chain. Physical systems are embedded with software and interconnected via the internet. Industry 4.0 involves smart factories connected using industrial IoT in order to enhance communication and optimize the production process. The technologies that enable Industry 4.0 are Autonomous Robots, Simulation, Horizontal and Vertical System Integration, the Industrial Internet of Things, Cybersecurity, Cloud Computing, Additive Manufacturing, Data and Analytics, and Augmented Reality.
The purpose of this digital transformation is to improve production, both in quantity and quality. Production costs can be decreased when smart machines take over and eliminate the need for more work hours. This would enable a more efficient production process and as efficiency increases product quality goes up as well. Thus, Industry 4.0 revolutionizes not just how products are produced, but also how the products are received by consumers.
Advancement in robotic technology has improved several industries. Complex or monotonous tasks can be tackled by robots, thus work becomes more efficient. Robots have also improved their utility. They are becoming more flexible and autonomous. Their ability to cooperate with humans and learn from them would increase. Soon, robots would be able to perform more tasks in manufacturing than before.
Simulation can be used to produce a digital twin of any system in the manufacturing process with the help of the extensive data collected by sensors. This simulation can then be used to understand how the system works and what can be improved to enhance efficiency.
Horizontal And Vertical System Integration
Horizontal integration associated with Industry 4.0 is facilitated by connected networks of cyber and physical systems. It allows businesses a greater level of automation, flexibility, and efficiency. Vertical integration in Industry 4.0 brings together layers within the company from the manufacturing level to product development, IT, marketing etc. Data flow is streamlined and thus is able to inform and support strategic decisions. Vertical integration in Industry 4.0 allows businesses to interpret the ever changing market and plan accordingly.
Industrial Internet Of Things
Industrial Internet of Things refers to physical things in the manufacturing process that are integrated with sensors and such to collect real time data about them. They use sensors to communicate in a network and have embedded computers for their tasks. Industrial IoT helps industries to perform better by monitoring their systems and markets closely to make changes when needed.
Cybersecurity needs no introduction. It may not have been relevant enough in the traditional manufacturing processes, but in Industry 4.0, it plays a central role. The systems of Industry 4.0 are highly interconnected by IoT. The need for security from cyber attacks is as high as the need for security from theft of physical assets. Manufacturers must make sure that they use secure communication channels and management software.
Cloud computing is one of the most important technologies that enable the development of Industry 4.0. It not only aids in efficient storage and processing of data, but also helps in the facilitation of advanced technology like AI and IoT. It also allows industries greater control over how they organize their data.
Additive manufacturing refers to the construction of a 3D object by processes like 3D printing from digital 3D models. It is called additive manufacturing because it adds material to create a product unlike the traditional way where materials are removed during shaping before the final product is released. It improves performance, makes it easy to produce complex geometries and simplifies fabrication. It can be used to easily produce customized products that has several advantages, like durability, space and weight efficiency etc.
Data And Analytics
Industrial manufacturing produces large sets of data. It can be used to analyze the production process and make improvements. Data is collected from many different sources with the integration of technology with physical systems. This data is analyzed to optimize production, equipment and customer service. When data analysis supports decision making, loss would be reduced and profits would be increased.
Augmented reality is not yet a widely used system. However, it is undeniable that it has many uses. AR can be extremely useful in a factory to give employees an in-depth understanding of the systems they work. This way, they can solve any issue when it arises, thus reducing the complexity of the procedure.