The Fourth Industrial Revolution is currently transforming production. Due to the usage of next-generation technologies, Industry 4.0 is quickly shaping how we’re doing business. The latest advances in technology will make production quicker and more organized. However, they will bring a lot of work reorganization as well. For instance, flexible work time is one of the matters bound to improve even more with the help of modern communication technologies. Cloud computing, robotics, and AI are just some of the technologies whose frequent usage proves that Industry 4.0 is affecting the future of production.
The revolution we are witnessing today is all about digital innovations. Namely, the main characteristic of the revolution is the growing number of smart factories. These are famous for their digitally networked system, whose main purpose is for production to be autonomous.
This is easily done when every participant of the production process is linked directly to each other. The participants aren’t just people, but machines, logistics, and systems as well. Straightforward communication and contact between them allow for an efficient and flexible process.
Another important factor of the revolution is the fact that it all happens in real-time. All the pieces of information available at the right moment can help a company do its business in a quality way. As a result, the company grows and expands. Reacting properly can save the company a lot of resources, which is another reason why digital technologies are so popular nowadays.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
When the industry is the matter we’re discussing, we shouldn’t forget about the Internet of Things. The other name for this is Industrial Internet and it simply shows how important this technology is for production. Manufacturing includes different physical devices and working with them doesn’t have to be as complicated as we may imagine.
That is when IoT is the most useful. Namely, establishing a connection between such devices as vehicles isn’t the only thing this smart technology does. It also keeps them in communication, making the whole production process facilitated and more efficient.
Big Data and Analytics
Making business decisions is a rather important part of the manufacturing process. Carefully analyzing the data collected is essential for well-made decisions. This is the only way to capitalize on all your efforts. All of this means that making mistakes is inadmissible.
To improve this process, big data and analytics examine large datasets quickly and unmistakably. This system of uncovering patterns and correlations is bound to help a company organize better. All sorts of useful information such as preferences and trends are also discovered by big data and analytics.
When data is concerned, you should remember that collecting and analyzing them isn’t the only part of the process. You also need some space to safely store the data. From a safe space, data management is facilitated as well.
Cloud computing is the perfect solution for this. The cloud in question is a network of remote servers compared with a PC or a local server. The network of servers is, of course, hosted on the Internet.
When the whole production process is transferred on the Internet, it’s important to keep it safe and secure. Unfortunately, enhanced automation of a business means that the business can become more prone to cyber-attacks. Ransomware and crypto-jacking are just some of the attempts cyber-criminals are known for doing.
For these reasons, protecting your online business is so necessary. Cybersecurity can refer to a lot of defense ideas, but what you should be interested in is the one designed for manufacturing.
Software and System Integration
Working for a clear and well-defined goal helps everyone in the process do their job better. The future of production is all about working as a single system toward the said goal. If the manufacturing process involves multiple people and machines, it is substantial for them all to work together, for the same thing.
Being aware that the process has both physical and virtual components is what helps the business grow. Integrating software and systems helps further organize and keeps everything together.
Thanks to computer-led imitations, you can now do your job better even when you’re not around. Virtual and augmented reality are just some of the examples of how simulation of a process can improve the business and the product.
You have probably seen some gloves fitted with sensors at least once in your life. This is the best example of what virtual reality is. It is a computer-generated simulation that you can interact with. It can be an image or an environment.
What’s important is that it is three-dimensional and that you can interact with it in a seemingly real way. The gloves with sensors could be additional electronic equipment. When using such equipment, you can physically interact with the simulation.
Another type of computer-generated reality is augmented reality. The purpose of this is to provide a user with a composite view since this technology simply enhances the real, physical world. Various stimuli are used to make this effect.
For instance, sound and visual elements are the most frequently used ones. This is particularly useful when it comes to planning in manufacturing. You can organize the work more carefully and you can expect better results due to this kind of technology.
Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing)
Production is a complex process. Whenever you get the chance to simplify it, you should. For instance, if you’re supposed to add more materials, you can do it simply by 3D printing. This is a perfect way to solidify the material.
The key here is that the computer controls the three-dimensional object. It saves time and reduces costs, which undoubtedly makes it a valuable part of the process.
Autonomous Robotics and Assistive Technologies
Instead of working on important tasks, your employees might waste their time doing the simpler and more meaningless tasks. The more autonomous machines you have, the less time your employees spend on these kinds of tasks.
Robots are, for this reason, perfect for the manufacturing process. Production can get much easier with simple help from assistive technologies. Robots tend to make fewer mistakes than humans and they can work up to 24 hours a day!
Creating a digital strategy
After realizing why digital technologies are so valuable in production today, it’s time you started making strategies for your business. The first thing to do is to evaluate your current state. How is your production doing? Where do you see your business in the future?
Comparing your current state and your end goal is the best way to see what you need to change to get to the said goal. You’ll need to assess your digital capabilities and reveal any flaws. All of this will help you prioritize your objectives and build a solid strategy.
Finally, you should start developing digital solutions for the issues you might have. Depending on the issue, you might want to implement different strategies. Make sure to identify the challenge and evaluate the risk.
Don’t forget that the solutions should always align with the objectives and goals. Industry 4.0 is changing a lot of the production process and the sooner you accept those changes, the sooner you’ll profit from them!
Thanks to technological advances, you can today reduce the costs of your business and you can also save energy and resources. The autonomous process is making manufacturing more efficient than it ever was!