We stand now in the midst of an industrial revolution. In fact, we are now seeing the industrial revolution 4.0 taking place all around us. Its goals, capabilities, benefits, and frustrations are challenging companies large and small as Engineers, IT Managers, and Operations teams globally attempt, succeed, and fail in their endeavors. However, it's for sure that the focus of the fourth industrial revolution is on driving trends in digital transformation or digitalization while assisting manufacturing companies in becoming autonomous digital enterprises.
This article will discuss the industrial revolution 4.0 and expand upon the technological developments that have contributed to this period of dramatic industrial change.
What is the Industrial Revolution 4.0?
Manufacturing and industrial processes that were formerly unconnected and disparate PLC-based equipment and processes are becoming automated and interconnected as part of the Industrial Revolution 4.0. Note that Industry 4.0 is shorthand for the German government's original elaborate, top-down effort to encourage the widespread use of computers and digital technologies in hitherto human-centric sectors of manufacturing.
The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), the proliferation of modern intelligent technologies, and machine communication across extensive M2M networks all provide novel commercial prospects. Such advancements may include, but are not limited to, the development of smarter machines that control, monitor, and maintain systems, as well as the ability to solve issues without the assistance of specialized internal software developers. Additionally, it helps nurture the prospects for more intelligent automation, more thorough communication, and improved diagnostic and preventative maintenance.
Technologies of the Industrial Revolution 4.0
When we speak about this "industrial revolution 4.0," we're referring to the following set of well-known concepts and technologies all working together in a unified way. In fact, this new era has been jokingly termed the "imagination age," given the tremendous possibilities of these technologies.
Intelligent Machines for Computing
The majority of today's computing software is developed and adapted to meet the requirements of corporate software. It can gather, analyze, and compile enormous chunks of data and information, present visualizations, and even provide assistance in procedures such as the development, maintenance, and functions of virtual assistants. Meanwhile, the differentiation between personal computers and industrial PCs has been blurring for years.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IoT)
The term "Internet of Things" (IoT) alludes to the concept of the cloud as an immaterial medium through which a diverse set of physical devices, or "Things," can exchange data and information, learn from one another, and build a network of key resources that can open up novel channels of communication within businesses and with their customers. When these devices are used in manufacturing, they are sometimes referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Connecting to the Industrial Internet of Things, while promising, has been a challenge for most manufacturers due to the complications of collecting, deciphering, and contextualizing in the absence of clear communication standards and protocols. These challenges are becoming easier thanks to IPC (the Institute for Printed Circuits), CFX (Connected Factory Exchange), and other standardizations. Still, they represent one of the most daunting challenges for any manufacturer.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The phrase "artificial intelligence" refers to the concept of a computer utilizing knowledge it has synthesized to produce something new or give insight into a pattern or situation without being instructed to do so. This concept is grounded in the field of machine learning (ML).
Until now there had previously been a lack of sufficient data collected and available to analyze in order to feed these models and provide interesting insights. However, this has changed with the advent of inexpensive cloud storage and data processing.
Horizontal/Vertical Systems Integration
Industrial revolution 4.0's concept of "horizontal systems integration" refers to the synchronization of all production-related applications and devices. The equipment and programs, regardless of who made them, should be able to communicate with one another in a smart and seamless manner. That way, Smart Factories can adapt quickly to changing production demands and benefit from the added convenience of predictive maintenance and smart quality control.
The "vertical systems integration" concept encompasses synchronizing all departments of a manufacturer's operations, from production to IT to quality control and business processes. Each company layer has access to pertinent information from the other areas instead of siloing data and making choices based on restricted information. This helps ensure actions are always backed up by evidence and considered in light of their potential effects throughout the organization.
Robotics is becoming more practical and approachable because of ongoing technological advancements in the field. When machine learning, automation, and computing can be applied to a single machine that achieves a wider purpose, robotics is starting to emerge as a viable technology. Indeed, centralized and unified data and process functions are fueling the proliferation of robotics and other automation within the factory.
Implementing an Industry 4.0 Project!
There has been tremendous development and expansion in the industrial world. Better technologies have led to increased productivity and higher-quality results. Automation, IIoT, artificial intelligence, device connectivity, and other pertinent technologies have all improved productivity and profitability in the workplace, and Industry 4.0 is no exception.
However, you should also bear in mind that if there are many distinct technologies associated with the fourth industrial revolution, then there are also numerous integrations to other systems, such as ERP, PLM, Legacy, and so on. Not only that, but without adequate direction, the whole process of launching an Industry 4.0 project can be very challenging.
Thus, Stellarus Group has the knowledge, experience, and insights and is a key resource as a world-class Technology/Business Consultant for today's most challenging Industry 4.0 Projects.