The first industrial revolution introduced mechanization and steam power to industry. The second introduced electric power and mass-production, and the third introduced electronics, information technology, and automated production. Today, the fourth industrial revolution, or “Industry 4.0” is all about integration using digitalization and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Manufacturers can now integrate machines and systems online, improving productivity and customer satisfaction. Also known as Smart production or Smart Manufacturing, industry 4.0 refers to a scenario of interoperability where people, devices, and machines of the entire value chain can connect and communicate with each other. The flow of information, which is generated in this interactive structure, is crucial in industry 4.0. In fact, interconnected technologies devices relate to each other, collect and analyze data to generate information for the advanced analytics of the process.
By making decisions based on data and insights, Industry 4.0 opens up a world of opportunities for manufacturing:
- Sensors help detect defects or abnormalities early on in the production process, making it possible to adjust settings quickly and change parameters to prevent these incidents in the future.
- Predictive maintenance of machines allows businesses to schedule downtime more efficiently and prevent incidents or breakdowns.
- Based on data and insights derived from manufacturing to delivery processes, the entire supply chain is managed much more efficiently.
- Worker health and safety improves, as data and incident analysis assist in identifying and preventing hazardous situations.
- Changes to production lines are simulated virtually before they are physically implemented to adequately assess impact and reduce the chance of errors.
- OEM manufacturers can provide a host of new services to clients – including predictive maintenance and quality control – by using sensor data.
- Energy consumption can be optimized using advanced analytics.
These insights will be used to spur actions in the physical world. Industry 4.0 represents a great opportunity for companies as it gives access to a horizon of possibilities to increase the organization’ benefits by optimizing the overall performance of the value chain, reducing risks, improving the time-to-market, gaining more flexibility and driving innovation. In other words, the essence of Industry 4.0 is the use of data-derived insights to make better decisions and thus create business value.
Jointly Written by Dr. Raj Kumar & Sourav Rout.