Since the first industrial revolution, industries have been seeking ways to increase production in the most efficient ways possible. From that first industrial revolution to today, new methods of production and new disruptive technology has pushed companies to be smarter, faster, and more efficient. Drastic changes in configurations and modernization have completely changed the industrial environment.
For a few years now, a fourth industrial revolution known as Industry 4.0 has infiltrated businesses and industries worldwide. With a new global industrial movement, automation and computerization are taking manufacturers to new heights of production. Industry 4.0 is characterized by collaborative systems that rely on computer-based algorithms to monitor, analyze, and control workflow and output. Industry 4.0 is making the supply chain “smart.” This means everything from smart manufacturing techniques to smart factories, warehousing, and logistics are all changing.
Changes to the supply chain only scratch the surface of the Industry 4.0 movement. If companies are willing to adapt to new technologies, all facets of the business model can be rethought to create more efficient and profitable operations. Collaborative applications, industrial robots, and precise automation can all contribute to the remaking of the manufacturing industry. Let’s look at some ways industry 4.0 impacts manufacturers.
With the introduction of Industry 4.0 applications, manufacturers are seeing an information revolution as they gain access to a wealth of information and tools that can help improve quality and efficiency in their processes. Changes to available data will enable manufacturers to adjust course almost instantly in response to disruptions or variable demand.
Industry 4.0 involves configurations that collect massive volumes of data and then having the ability to interpret and address that information. Also known as big data, these large amounts of information come from digital sources inside and outside of the company that presents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis. The data is collected everywhere, from systems and sensors to mobile apps. The challenge is in the process of developing methods to best interpret and manage the data.
Master Data Management (MDM) programs are essential to manufacturers’ ability to maintain and harness this new information. What is MDM? MDM is a program that involves a host of people and systems to ensure that all types of shared data are accurate and consistent. MDM platforms are now a standard part of the information revolution. Information is changing the way business is conducted as data has become a prime asset of most companies. Industry 4.0 has enabled manufacturers to take advantage of big data to make accurate and timely business decisions.
Technological collaboration is at the core of the Industry 4.0 movement. Technology that can work together can accomplish production tasks and transmit corporate data to administrative systems simultaneously. Systems that enable physical machinery to fully communicate with one another over digital networks known as cyber-physical systems have become the backbone of the production process.
Technology that works together is building heavily digitized and mostly autonomous buildings that take full advantage of tools such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and analytics. Computers and networks observe and control physical processes and send feedback that the physical system reacts to. At the same time results are also being transmitted and tracked. All of these tools are now working together to move manufacturing to a highly complex and automated process.
The manufacturing workplace has been redefined as an advanced operating system that functions as a data center and production workspace. This technology includes industrial collaborative robots that are types of robots that work with each other alongside skilled workers to accomplish repetitive tasks and arduous jobs. System configurations that collaborate to accomplish tasks and transmit data are revolutionizing manufacturing from the administrative office to the production line.
Interoperability or the ability of systems to exchange and make use of information is the by-product of the Industry 4.0 revolution on manufacturing. As manufacturers have begun integrating technology and process elements, interoperability is emerging as the major benefit. It is the connection of cyber-physical systems, humans, and intelligent technology communicating with each other to create efficient production.
As a result, manufacturers can effectively share information, error-free, within the organization, with outside vendors and other partners. Manufacturing companies with the infrastructure for interoperability can better serve their customers and optimize their operations. It’s a means of promoting better decision making that improves how manufacturers operate.
From automation to robots, Industry 4.0 technologies are driving the manufacturing industry forward with new means of efficiency, accuracy, reliability, and service. With improved data quality and capabilities, intelligent technology solutions are transforming the manufacturing landscape.