MAKE WAY FOR INDUSTRY 4.0
In a fast-moving generation, where new technological advancements happen in the wink of an eye, there is only one constant – change. We have to learn the art of walking hand in hand with everything new and adapt to the ever-changing environments to draw a progressive trajectory in our careers and personal lives. Everything around is changing, and there is nothing that’s permanent. ‘Improvement & growth’ are the two key words that drive people towards innovative ideas and solutions and Industry 4.0 is a testimony to change on a gargantuan scale.
Miracle on the move
New discoveries are made daily, and it’s certain that there won’t be any dearth of it in the days to come as well. But things around us are rapidly changing. The IoT (Internet of things) is ever expanding and it has started to play a major role in the field of production. The manufacturing industry is taken over by machines and the awe-factor here is that these machines have an internal intelligence and advanced interfaces that allow them to communicate with other machines. Sounds interesting, isn’t it?
It’s surprising, but it will not be new anymore considering the pace at which the industries are moving forward. You won’t be wrong if you can call it the future!
Industry 4.0 is a title for the current trend of automation and data exchange that’s taking the world of technology by storm. Cyber-physical systems, cloud computing, the IoT, and cognitive computing – it’s a ‘smart factory’ where the cyber-physical systems have the ability to take decentralised decisions. Over the IoT, these cyber-physical systems effectively operate and communicate with each other, and with humans. It sounds like a miracle, and you don’t have to doubt – it is indeed one!
Pillars of strength
It is like watching those Hollywood movies where it’s all about saving the world and future. Among the design principles of Industry 4.0, is interconnectivity. Here, unlike the working patterns of the generations that passed by, the machines, devices, sensors, and people have the ability to connect and communicate with each other. This is achieved through the IoT (Internet of Things), or IoP (Internet of People). This brings forth transparency in the way it’s operated. The operators are loaded with useful information, and this makes it easier for them to take further steps and decisions.
Here the focus is on the establishment of intelligent products and production values. The system of interconnected network helps factories to cope up with rapid product development in complex environments. Within a smart factory, the products can communicate with their environment and influence the arrangement patterns through RMS (Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems). There are configuration rules from which case-specific topologies can be derived. This enables the manufacturing companies to adapt quickly to various requirements in the market. The flexibility is increased, while the task of co-ordination becomes much easier.
The functionality of the whole system is increased manifold and this helps in identifying and improving the areas that need further innovation and improvement. Major decisions are made by humans of experience. This will soon be replaced with high-end solutions which will not be prone to error. The decision-making process will be assisted by self-optimised and knowledgeable manufacturing systems. This means there will be stronger technical assistance to people operating the system. These systems are capable of assistance & support by aggregating and visualizing information comprehensively to make better decisions and solve urgent problems on short notice. Cyber-physical systems have the capacity to support humans by conducting a wide range of operations that are either risky or too unpleasant to handle.
When the real and virtual world joins hands as one, innovation will begin to help the economy scale better heights. The convergence of affordable technology and exponentially growing data has the power to transform the entire economy. IoT plays a vital role in this transformation. This provides sustainable mobility and enhanced services in all sectors alike.
Expected developments and labour
The manufacturing pieces of equipment in the industrial revolution will be something out of the ordinary. Highly automated machines, tools, and robots will enter the scene and precision will be a guarantee. There will be flexibility and as the requirements change, and it is much easier to switch. Robots will be seen working together with workers on joint tasks. There will be a radical shift in the labour market as well. Skilled workers in demand for their experience will be eliminated and for them, it will call for serious change to adapt and move with the trend. This brings forth some new opportunities for the working class to change their routine and smartly adapt to the new requirements in demand. The requirement profile in the industry is expected to shift from a normal production employee to someone with high levels of profound competence. The probability of the number of workers decreasing is high. The rest of the manufacturing jobs will contain more knowledgeable work which will be short-term and hard-to-plan. The workers will be required to monitor the automated systems which will be integrated into decentralised decision-making platforms.
When it comes to the structure of the organisation and the way it operates, the manufacturing systems cannot be henceforth operated from a nodal point. Instead of that, decentralised instances will autonomously use local information for decision-making. The decision will be taken by workers or types of equipment using AI methods.
Talk about the value creation, we are about to witness a whole lot of 3D printing. The costs of additive manufacturing have dropped rapidly and this calls for an increase in speed and precision. Geometries that are far more complex and strong will be designed at ease. This enables the industry to visualise and execute the ideas in a better way. When there are provisions to manufacture the product in batch size according to the requirements of the customer, the mass customisation integrates the customer easily into the value chain.
MAKE WAY FOR INDUSTRY 4.0
Business models and value creation
Most of the business models will use smart data for rendering new services. The new developments will be used for floating sustainable models that are unlike the ones in the past. These sustainable business models can create positive or negative impacts on the environment or society. But on the other hand, they can also contribute to solving an environmental or social problem as well. These models will have the power to stay, which means you won’t see them going obsolete in the near future. They will be competitive on the long-run. This will be technique and here, the functionalities and accessibilities will be sold instead of just focussing on the tangible products.
In a nutshell, through such advanced value creation networks, we can witness ‘Industrial symbiosis’. The cross-linking of value creation networks offers new opportunities for realising closed-loop product cycles. The product, material, energy, and the flow of water throughout the product life-cycles will be efficiently coordinated. This coordination can be achieved between different factories as well. Closed-loop product life-cycles as such can work on recycling too.
Traditional versus 4.0
If you look at the current market, providing the best of services and product quality at the least price is the key to success. There is no denying that. Unless you look at the brand value of things, this is the formula that works for the common man. The industrial factories are trying to achieve just that – they are trying to increase their performance and profit. There are plenty of data sources available for the factories to avail information about the various aspects of profit making. The data has to be used to understand current operating conditions, and detecting faults and failures of the existing system. This is an important topic to research and there are plenty of commercial tools available to provide overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) values to the factory management. This will help in hogging the spotlight on the root causes of problems and possible faults in the system. Moreover, the added advantage here is that the components and systems in Industry 4.0 will have self-awareness, which will effectively improve the efficiency of the factory. Through peer-to-peer comparison and fusion of health comparison, a precise health prediction is attained and this enables the factory management to maintain the systems intact. This sort of stability was missing in the traditional factories.
Logistics and supply chain
Innovation in logistics is not entirely associated with modern IT solutions. But there are things that can change. There are some innovative solutions that can manifest through this industrial revolution.
There is room for continuous improvement. Whatever work happens around, it will be continuously verified and the team will have huge benefits out of it. The latest advancements also help to keep vigil over all the activities and its quality. Team-work can be effectively coordinated like never before. The entire focus will be on implemented practices and shared values. Through Industry 4.0, there will be continuous activities running round the clock to constantly search and come up with better ideas to increase productivity. There is no dearth of communication, plus work-satisfaction and elimination of old habits – there are changes aplenty when the entire system is improved.
There are some other factors as well that showcases the kind of change that’s about to hit the field of logistics. There will be a big change in the structure of regional networks, flexibility and risk management. When it comes to the lead time delivery services, customer satisfaction is guaranteed. The system is more reliable and updated. As the services are rendered according to the needs of the customers, the rapid approach and problem-solving techniques will increase reliability and trust-factor to the next level. The segmentation of the supply chain will be focussed on demand and specific needs of the customers. This will help in great reduction of the volume of stocks, and bring forth cost-effective remedies. Safety requirements and potential hazards in the supply chain can easily be spotted. Combine all these factors and you can guess how a factory or a set of factories will benefit from these changes.
The Internet of Things
The idea of the Internet of Things was formulated by British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton in 1999 to describe a system in which the material world communicates with the computer. Two decades later, it stands in front of us in the form of reality. Today, there are areas where IoT solutions can potentially revolutionise the entire industrial standards.
The IoT focuses on Smart environment where the entire anthropogenic emissions will be monitored and cut down to produce eco-friendly solutions. Smart water management is an area where this can be achieved. The impacts of water resources on the environment, their regulation and protection against floods, waterways, and hydropower is a key area of study using IoT that can change the entire game plan. In a way that supports the economy, soon there will be smart and better ways of transport, production and energy resources. Smart cities are another such wonder where IoT can play an important role. Traffic congestion can be monitored and regulated, parking spaces, intelligent roads, weather-monitoring and much more – the IoT can work magic. Smart health will cover a wide range of physical activities and monitor them to tune us into perfect health conditions. Health-centric homes are becoming a reality.
Industry 4.0 has the potential to make an impact on a lot of areas around the world. Talk about better services and business models, it will be served. When we deal with productivity, it’s about to become more reliable and competent. Machine safety, risk management, better communication, product lifecycles, transport and logistics, and more – everything will be improved using cutting-edge technology.
If you consider a machine, with time it will be affected by wear and tear. When networking becomes confusing cobwebs, there is a loss of time and productivity. Industry 4.0 will address all the issues and bring out the best in everything. The vast majority of businesses are determined with the implementation of product, technical, technological, and organisational innovation. The focus is on creating value for the customer who is aware of everything happening around. Solutions such as the Internet of Things, Big Data and Industry 4.0 create more opportunities to meet such customer requirements. Logistics is better, and supply chain management is stronger than usual. Business is better, and work is much easier. Welcome to the revolution.
MAKE WAY FOR INDUSTRY 4.0
 Science direct, T. Stock, G Seliger. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877705817313346
 Science direct, Krzysztof Witkowski; Internet of Things, Big Data, Industry 4.0 – Innovative Solutions in Logistics and Supply Chains Management
 BGH Consulting. https://www.bgh-consulting.de/de/lp/industrie4.0-personalberatung/
 Wikipedia. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industry_4.0
 Waset. http://waset.org/publications/9997144