Digital transformation is now responsible for changing manufacturing in the same way the Industrial Revolution impacted the industry. The Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0, AI and machine learning, robotics, increased speed and performance, as well as data and analytics are all driving forces behind this digital transformation.
The aim of Industry 4.0 is to transform industry management and business processes, enhancing the productivity of manufacturing technologies through field data collection and analysis, thus creating real-time digital twins of industrial scenarios. Companies must be as “smart” as possible to respond to the changing existence of digital supply chains.
The terms “Industry 4.0” and “fourth industrial revolution” are often used interchangeably. It is categorised by, among others:
- More automation than in the third industrial revolution.
- Joining of the physical and digital world through cyber-physical systems, enabled by Industrial IoT.
- Move from a central industrial control system to one where smart products define the production steps.
- Closed-loop data models and control systems.
- Personalisation or customisation of products.
Modern factory automation and Industry 4.0 in Manufacturing
Any company can automate processes and execute them with little to no human interaction. Automation can control a variety of equipment that can then achieve a variety of goals in a variety of manufacturing environments.
Automation is so efficient because it improves quality, performance, and reliability by reducing human intervention, lowering the risk of error significantly.
The use of automation and data sets in a manufacturing scenario is known as smart manufacturing. Production lines will meet the demands of an ever-changing industry thanks to this highly intuitive and interconnected process.
Any standalone activity can now be linked with any other process with increasing speed and precision within the boundaries of an Industry 4.0 environment, thus adding value to the entire operation.
Joining of the physical and digital world through cyber-physical systems
The principle of cyber-physical systems (CPS), smart systems that involve engineered communicating networks of physical and computational elements, is a key component in the implementation of Industry 4.0 concepts.
A cyber-physical device, in the manufacturing industry, is an internet-enabled physical object, such as a pump or compressor, that is embedded with computers and control components, such as sensors and actuators. An IP address-assigned entity can self-monitor, generate information about its own activity, and communicate with other related entities or even the outside world. It’s a self-contained, self-regulating system.
The principle of Industry 4.0 is that a manufacturing organisation can achieve higher performance, quality, and autonomous operation of production processes by ensuring that machines/plant equipment, logistics systems, work-in-progress products, and other elements (including people) interact directly with one another to achieve collaboration.
Manufacturing companies who want to match their vision with Industry 4.0 must turn current physical institutions into cyber-physical structures.
Closed-loop data models and control systems
The automated work process necessitates the use of a closed-loop control system. Agriculture, quality management, production, processing plants, food packaging, and construction are only a few of the industries that use it.
This system can be used to monitor and manipulate process variables, or it can serve as a supervisory body that ensures efficiency, consistency, and protection.
Machine learning-based closed-loop systems provide quicker decision-making, faster response times, increased performance, and improved protection.
Optimising process control with Industry 4.0
Smart products, according to the Industry 4.0 perspective, force us to move away from centralised control systems and toward an approach in which smart products identify production process measures.
The term “industrial control system” refers to a group of control systems and related instrumentation that includes the machines, systems, networks, and controls that are used to operate and/or automate industrial processes.
To build an internet of things, Industry 4.0 seeks to bring together the worlds of industrial manufacturing and network communication (IoT). This will result in a “smart production” world, in which intelligent machines, systems, and networks will exchange and react to information independently to control industrial production processes.
Creating a more connected process management system, when properly implemented, could greatly increase efficiency.
Personalisation/customisation of products
Small-scale, customised production would be combined with advanced manufacturing processes and technology in Smart Manufacturing. The result would be mass personalisation, or the mass manufacturing of customised goods and services on a wide scale.
The advantages of this method of production are obvious. Consumers benefit from highly personalised products at a low cost, while industry benefits from increased efficiencies and flexible production that can respond to rapidly changing markets.
Because of the innovative ways that connected technology has optimised and standardised different manufacturing processes, the manufacturing industry is leading in the IoT.
Since both production teams and customers have grown accustomed to the immediacy and intuitiveness of IoT, they now demand the same from their processes and goods, putting pressure on manufacturers to innovate more quickly.
To meet these demands, companies must change the way they handle and exchange product information around the organisation, increasing production and accountability while lowering costs and downtime.
If we continue to investigate the possibilities provided by Industry 4.0, it’s critical that the costs of new equipment and processes are justified by the benefits to the overall market. It is obvious that manufacturers all over the world recognise the importance of increasing efficiency to stay competitive.
However, delaying the implementation of more efficient processes and improved information technology for too long can enable the competition to gain an advantage. Companies who take advantage of technological technologies have a better chance of becoming business leaders.
While on the topic of connected technologies, why not read our article about 5G and Mobile App Development.