The fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0, as it is commonly known, is changing the face of every industry worldwide. Historically speaking, each of the four industrial revolutions has been set in motion by the advent of radically different and new technologies. But the goals have always been the same – to increase efficiency and add value.
Industry 4.0 is not a new technology nor a business discipline; it is a new approach to achieve results that weren’t possible 10 years ago. It is a label given to the combination of traditional manufacturing & technological innovations. Existing manufacturing & technological innovations are coming together to create the next big manufacturing reinvention. Machines within factories will be given the ability to analyse and communicate with each other and co-workers, helping for much smoother process. From smartphones to smart fridges, technology has played a major role in advancing our day-to-day lives. But technology is also transforming the world of industrial manufacturing.
Most of the manufacturers are facing a challenge going from Industry 3.0 to Industry 4.0. And where does one start? It is essential to understand that Industry 4.0 is not about technology; it’s about the people, how people will connect and work together. Every project under the banner of Industry 4.0 must improve efficiency or reduce the cost of products for companies and customers.
The interesting thing about Industry 4.0 is that it is not necessarily synonymous with automation. It’s first and foremost about elevating efficiency. If a country assembles a component manually because labour is plentiful and inexpensive, we need to find a way of making that process more efficient. So, Industry 4.0 solutions would be able to make operators more efficient. In any country where everything is already automated because labour is expensive, exploring solutions, such as, predictive maintenance could increase efficiency by reducing machine downtime.
The success of any Industry 4.0 initiative lies in the ability to capture and analyse Big Data as part of the human or machine decision-making process. For this to happen, systems must be integrated to enable them to ‘talk’ to each other.
Given the accelerated rate of technological development, the definition of Industry 4.0 is a constantly evolving one. So, as much as industries grapple with defining Industry 4.0, it is equally difficult to know if you’re ahead of the curve or not. It is important to know that one cannot be an expert in each of the focus areas; but one doesn’t have to be. It is important to understand the possibilities and, where necessary, work with trusted partners to provide the right solutions for our customers. While the industry isn’t there yet, Industry 4.0 is about the future, so we need to keep our eye on all possibilities & be future-ready.