A glimpse of Industry 4.O
Digital transformation has upped the ante since the coronavirus pandemic broke out. The situation has been similar in India, with the Digital India initiative launched by the Government of India. Digital transformation is at a higher scale, and manufacturing and production industries are getting involved.
It is here that the role of data and Industry 4.0 becomes prominent. As we all know, data is the new oil. Data is collected and pushed to the cloud. Sensors are added to industrial computers. There is constant data collection for possible future usage. Data analysis is done by tailor-made algorithms. Data analytics and AI lead to information, which is data and context.
Industry 4.0 is the complete revolution of old technologies with more automation, AI, etc. It is bridging the gap between the physical and digital world by enabling the Internet of Things (IoT) and industrial IoT (IIoT).
The current trend of digital transformation has a vision of reaching the stage where one can enable autonomous decision making, monitor assets, value creation process, as well as vertical and horizontal integrations.
There is an evolution of smart manufacturing to integrated and collaborative smart systems. Smart, I4.0 methodologies are heavily integrated solutions, which enhance existing systems and capabilities. Data from multiple systems, such as MES, yield, metrology, fault detection, process control, maintenance, and demand, integrate to create a real-time digital representation of the factory.
Smart manufacturing is based on three pillars -- sensing, connecting and predicting. Sensing involves the integrated real-time tool, process, and work-in-progress (WIP) monitoring. Connecting involves uniting the different and unique data sources. Predicting involves the Digital Twin-enabled predictive applications.
Research by PwC had found that Industry 4.0 investments are significant, and global industrial products companies will invest US$907 billion per year through to 2020. Companies are also investing in training employees and driving organizational change.
Industry 4.0 applications
There are industry verticals that have already started preparing themselves for Industry 4.0, where smart manufacturing can enhance their business. Some others are still struggling to know how industry 4.0 can impact their business in the best manner and find the talent, respectively.
To start with, there are applications, such as recognizing key areas where manufactures can identify areas that need attention and make their operations quick and easy. Boosting logistics and supply chains, is next, where, an already attached supply chain can adjust and accommodate the new information that is inserted. For instance, due to weather changes, there may be a delay in logistics. It will adjust the manufacturing accordingly.
Next, come robots. There was a time that these could be afforded by the large enterprises. Today, these are available in various sizes at affordable prices. They help in moving the goods from warehouses, and also reduce costs. Another major application of I4.0 involves IoT, through which equipment and tools will be much more advanced by using the insights of others while using the same equipment.
The transition to Industry 4.0 started with ERP, MES, and equipment integration, through to PLC/DCS, sensor and actuator, and equipment control system. We are now moving to a connected world. Industry 4.0 provides much more layers.
The key takeaways are: digital transformation is less about technology, and more about business outcomes, sustainability, and making people’s lives better. People are key to idea generation, incubation, and scale-up. There are connected assets, connected workers, connected operations, connected supply chain, connected products, and customer experience. The connected product use cases involve Industry 4.0, Quality 4.0, EHS 4.0, autonomous assets, others, etc.
There should be carefully planned integration strategies for new systems and ‘monument’ systems. Data should be incorporated from and shared with internal and external sources. Last, you should empower the plant staff with data.
Industry 4.0 is all about automatically controlling materials. It should also be capable of generating new revenue. The future of IIoT connectivity includes enterprise software systems, mobile devices, etc. Connectivity should be plug-and-play, automatically.
Users of Industry4.0
The major question that arises is: “How will you and your firm get to know when and if the business needs an investment in Industry 4.0?”
Industry 4.0 can help with better and faster decision making, bring you real-time insights about the business, so that the return on investment or profit can be predicted, etc. And, what do you need to do? First, you will need to know the process and the various pain points.
You also have to understand and change the business momentum accordingly. Industry 4.0 also introduces more information. More knowledge will be required to understand that. You also have to look at a period of 3-5 years to build on the solution. You need to be ready for changes and plan for those.
Features/characteristics of I4.0
There are certain features and characteristics of Industry 4.0 that you need to know.
Niche and vertical networks: It allows manufacturers to immediately react and respond to changes in demand, stock, and faults in equipment, etc.
Horizontal integration via a brand new generation of world price chain network modifies a better level of transparency. Corporations will be able to find and locate issues much faster. Every aspect of the process will be recorded and assessed, analyzed at any time.
Through engineering across the complete value chain: All the merchandise development and producing activities will be integrated and coordinated with the merchandise life cycles. New harmony will evolve between the expansion and production systems.
Transformation through rapidly changing technologies: The main premise of business 4.0 is to make associates in nursing progressively autonomous and build an extremely psychological feature system. Furthermore, to accelerate efficiency, it depends on technologies like machine learning, deep learning, advanced artificial intelligence, and industrial IoT.
Challenges of Industry 4.0
Some sectors are still denying the acceptance of industry 4.0. Some challenges force them to think before investing in an Industry 4.0 solution. Another challenge comes from implementing and managing the new technology.
Not everyone in a firm is ready to accept the new technology, nor can it evolve in one’s mind overnight. There is another challenge -- lack of unified leadership, as cross coordination becomes difficult in the company.
Advantages of I4.0
Enable more competition: As the firms are still adjusting their supply chain, you should make an investment in technology and solutions that assists you in improving the operation. To remain competitive in the market, you have to possess the systems and processes that permit you to supply a similar level of service (or better) to your customers.
More attractive appearance to the younger generation: Firms that fully invest in the latest technologies can attract more customers and talent.
Enable collaboration between teams: It helps in boosting efficiency and collaboration between teams, and alter prognostic and prescriptive analytics, permits individuals, together with operators, managers, and executives, to leverage period of time, knowledge, and intelligence to create higher choices.
Cost-saving and higher profit: Business 4.0 helps you manage everything in the manufacturing processes and supply chain. It provides you access to the time period knowledge and insights to form smarter, quicker decisions for your business, which might ultimately boost the potency and gain.
Industry 4.0 defines the future and the technologies give us a glimpse of pillars. Despite initiatives by the Government of India and the presence of several firms in digital transformation, areas are lacking in transformation. The necessity of digitalization is still not realized by various companies. Getting digitally transformed is not just about introducing the latest technologies. Firms also need to provide the proper knowledge, useful insights and giving live sessions about technology to improve digital literacy.
The author is Priya Saini, PR Professional, Alumnus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication.