Industry 4.0: what it is and what are its current impacts
Industry 4.0 is driven by the maturation of technologies such as cloud computing, telemetry, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, etc. It is the intelligent automation of everything.
And it’s not just about machines with superior capabilities, but how they interact with humans, buildings, networks, and logistics strategies.
Do you know this concept in depth? Do you know how deep the changes he is introducing in the most diverse industrial organizations?
Keep reading to understand!
Industry 4.0: what it is and what are its current impacts
Industry 4.0 is also called the “fourth industrial revolution” – the process initiated by England in 1760 was followed by major modernization movements: the “lean revolution” that occurred around 1970, the intensive globalization process in the 1990s and, more recently, the extreme automation started in the 2000s.
Virtually every organization already has a foot in Industry 4.0. It is nothing more than the phenomenon of adopting innovative tools, resources and technological services to optimize the management of the most varied industrial aspects. This includes everything from the design to the automation of manufacturing processes, through the supply chain, among other aspects of operational and administrative daily life.
More than having the concept at the tip of the tongue, it is important to know that it is a movement that is transforming economies, jobs and even society itself.
Industry 4.0 includes many physical and digital technologies – from Artificial Intelligence to cognitive applications through the Internet of Things and Big Data – allowing the emergence of interconnected digital organizations, as well as a high degree of modernization of manufacturing parks, among other results.
Industry 4.0: the forces that drive it and the principles that govern it
Scholars of the Industry 4.0 phenomenon claim that it is driven by four major forces:
- the amazing growth of data volume (Big Data): more technologies and more connectivity cause companies to produce, analyze and use more data in their production processes;
- the emergence of tools, resources and methods for data analysis: BI and Analytics solutions to complex management methodologies and use of Big Data;
- the innovative possibilities of human-machine interaction: from touch interfaces to augmented reality systems, through the Internet of Things;
- and the enhancements of the transfer of digital instructions to the physical world: advanced robotics and 3D printing as the most palpable examples, but there are still other applications.
In Industry 4.0, automation reaches extreme levels; it is everywhere. Robotics become increasingly accessible, as well as new generations of mobile processors, sensors and other equipment and systems that enable a nearly uncountable number of applications in the production chain.
In practice, the machine’s ability to request maintenance, for example, is a direct result of the industry’s fourth turnaround. There are others, as you will see later.
In addition to these four forces, there are also several principles governing Industry 4.0. Here are the main ones:
- Virtualization: Tools, resources and services employed in the industry are delivered virtualized for use anywhere, anytime and from any device;
- Real time: the current dynamics of technological development and implementation makes data capture, analysis and transformation processes simpler and more instantaneous;
- Service orientation: infrastructure, software and hardware are used as a service, which reduces operating costs of industries and enhances competitive intelligence;
- Decentralization: the machines also provide data, in addition to less and less human intervention;
- Modularity: on-demand production takes on an even more powerful dimension, especially given the flexibility to change machinery tasks in a few clicks – even remotely.
Industry 4.0: how to leverage it in your business
What we have shown so far has already made you realize that the technologies, services and methods around Industry 4.0 have the power to drive truly quantifiable changes in industry organizations.
The immediate benefits of production are clear: fewer machine failures, reduced problems, reduced costs and downtime, more data-driven management, etc.
We now we want to help you understand in detail how you can take advantage of the Industry 4.0 phenomenon in your business. Check out as follows.
Increase of the productivity
Simply put, Industry 4.0 technologies allow you to do more with less. You can produce faster and faster by allocating your resources more economically and efficiently.
Their production lines will also have less downtime due to improved machine monitoring and automated and/or semi-automated decision making.
Gain of efficiency and corporate intelligence
Multiple areas of your production line will become more efficient as a result of technologies related to Industry 4.0. Some of these efficiencies are mentioned above – less machine idle time, as well as the ability to produce more products and make them faster.
Other examples of improved efficiency include faster batch changes, automated tracking and tracing processes, and automated reporting. Also, business decision-making becomes smarter, based on real-time data and reports.
Ease of knowledge sharing and collaborative work
Traditional factories operate in silos. Individual installations are silos as well as individual machines within a facility. This results in minimal collaboration and little sharing of knowledge.
Industry 4.0 technologies enable your production lines, business processes, and departments to communicate regardless of location, time zone, platform, or any other factor. This allows, for example, the knowledge learned by a sensor on a factory floor machine to be disseminated throughout your organization.
Best of all, it is possible to do this automatically, that is, from machine to machine and from system to system without any human intervention. In other words, data from one sensor can instantly improve the various production lines located anywhere in the world.
Agility and flexibility
The benefits of Industry 4.0 also include greater flexibility and agility. For example, it is easier to increase or decrease production in an intelligent plant. It is also easier to introduce new products into the production line, as well as creating opportunities for unique manufactures, high-mix manufacturing and more.
Improvements in business governance
Regulatory compliance in sectors such as the manufacture of medical and pharmaceutical devices, for example, need not be a manual process. Instead, Industry 4.0 technologies make it possible to automate compliance, including tracking and tracing, quality inspections, serialization, data logging, and so on.
Customer Experience Improvements
Industry 4.0 also presents opportunities to improve the service you offer to customers and enhance the customer experience.
For example, with automated tracking and tracing capabilities, you can solve problems quickly. In addition, you will have fewer problems with product availability, product quality is improved and you can offer customers more options.
Significant cost savings
Becoming a smart factory does not happen overnight, and it will not happen on its own. To get it, you need to invest, so there are initial costs.
However, the manufacturing cost at your facility will decrease dramatically as a result of Industry 4.0 technologies, namely, automation, system integration, data management, and more.
The main drivers of this cost reduction include:
- better use of inputs, machinery and other resources;
- faster manufacturing;
- less downtime of the production line and machines;
- less quality problems with products;
- waste reduction;
- overall lower overall operating costs.
Industry 4.0 technologies provide greater insight into the manufacturing process, supply chains, distribution chains, business performance and even the products you manufacture.
This paves the way for innovation. Whether it’s changing a process, developing a new product, optimizing a supply chain, you can create new ways to evolve and stand out in the marketplace.
Increase in revenues and profitability
Many of the points above can result in higher revenue for your business. For example, by fully automating your production line and implementing other Industry 4.0 technologies, you could add a new change with minimal personnel costs to meet increased demand or compete for a new contract.
You will achieve this Industry 4.0 benefit on many of the points above, including higher revenues at reduced costs.
In addition, Industry 4.0 technologies enable the production of higher quality, higher margin and/or more innovative products. They make it possible, for example, to offer customers custom products while still using mass production methods to manufacture them.