Every production sector undergoes some changes every once in a while. The modern methods of producing products have benefited immensely from new technologies and techniques. The changes have been so huge that pundits in the industry are calling the new transition Industry 4.0. This term can often become a buzzword especially in circles where the transformation is not well understood. In the following paragraphs, we take a look at what this popular term means. We also analyze what changes are happening in the production realm thanks to the digitization of manufacturing.
The industrialization period is generally known to have started in the 1800s. This is a period that most pundits refer to as the first stage in the industrial revolution. There have been various developments since then, and the various stages have been informally categorized and Industry 2.0 and so on. Industry 4.0 specifically refers to the period characterized by automation plus the use of modern technologies and techniques. These techniques are heavily reliant on computers and data.
Industry 3.0 was marked by the introduction of computers into the manufacturing world. These machines brought about exciting changes. The use of computers was not very advanced though as the machines were only used to analyze simple data. Today, however, computers are now AI machines that can communicate with other machines and make smart decisions.
Industry 4.0 can thus be viewed as the maturity of computer technology where the power of data and communication is being fully utilized in the manufacturing world. Various changes have taken place across industries to respond to the new production era. Allensbach-hochschule.de notes that even the education sector has been modified to take into account the needs of the modern industry.
There is no doubt that there are many benefits that are set to come with Industry 4.0. The new phase is still early but many companies are already implementing the new technologies into their production process. There are still many others however that are skeptical about the new environment that is led by computers and other machines. Regardless, the new stage comes with many opportunities that can be harnessed to increase productivity and efficiency at the production stage. Some of the applications of Industry 4.0 include:
The advantages of using smart machines to control the logistics process are clear. Many of the natural and artificial challenges that face the logistics realm can be solved with smart solutions. As long as the information is available in the supply chain, machines can be able to adjust the manufacturing process to suit the prevailing conditions.
Robots are also a key feature of Industry 4.0. With robots, repetitive processes will become easy to do. Robots also handle many different tasks in the production realm. These tasks can range from offering support services, moving goods from warehouses to pick up stations to responding to questions and so much more.
Another key feature that defines Industry 4.0 is the internet of things. IoT is a technology that has major consequences for the world. The cloud technology powering the IoT infrastructure will also contribute greatly to the manufacturing process. Management and internal operations will become efficient with the IoT infrastructure in place.
3D printing has been in the prototype production realm for a while now. In recent years though, companies have started manufacturing complete productions with the technology. Additive manufacturing will thus become a key feature of Industry 4.0 and the technology to support it is already available.
Industry 4.0 might still be in the early stages but there is already a lot of potential being witnessed in the manufacturing realm. Soon, this industry will mature and the prospects will become bigger. Most companies today are planning to adopt the innovations that come as part of Industry 4.0. Every passing year, it is becoming clearer that companies that will fail to evolve might be pushed to the peripherals of the market. The goal of modern organizations should thus be to realign their workforce and goals with the realities of Industry 4.0.