Three industrial revolutions have occurred since the 1800s. Each was propelled by a game-changing new technology: the steam engine’s mechanics, the assembly line’s inventiveness, and the computer’s speed. Because the innovation that powered them didn’t simply enhance productivity and efficiency a little bit – it radically altered how commodities were produced and how work was done, they were dubbed “industrial revolutions.” We are currently in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, often known as Industry 4.0 technology, which uses smart technologies to improve supply chain automation, monitoring, and analysis.
Industry 4.0 technology (i4.0) is a global phrase that describes the confluence of IoT-driven technology, enhanced decision-making, and improved automation. The old value chain is being radically transformed by next-generation technologies, which are creating new income streams and causing a step shift in corporate performance. What makes i4.0 so revolutionary is that it is the first time an industrial revolution has been predicted rather than observed, allowing manufacturers to anticipate disruptions rather than reacting to them.
This provides a chance for businesses to address some of the most pressing issues they face today, such as the question “Is my operating model suitable for purpose?” ‘What can I do to increase my market share?’ ‘How can I increase productivity without raising costs?” and ‘How can I increase productivity without increasing costs?”
The term “industry 4.0 technology” (or “i4.0”) refers to the fusion of IoT-driven technology, improved automation, and enhanced decision-making. Next-generation technologies are drastically changing the existing value chain, resulting in new income streams and a step change in corporate performance. I4.0 is so groundbreaking because it is the first time an industrial revolution has been foreseen rather than observed, allowing businesses to plan ahead rather than react to interruptions.
What Technologies Are Driving Industry 4.0?
In this article, we’ll discuss Industry 4.0 technology and technologies used in Industry 4.0
1. AI And Machine Learning
Manufacturing businesses may use AI and machine learning to fully use the abundance of data created not just on the factory floor, but also throughout their business divisions and from partners and third-party sources. AI and machine learning may provide insights into operations and business processes, allowing for visibility, predictability, and automation. For example, industrial machinery is prone to malfunction throughout the manufacturing process. Businesses may use data generated from these assets to undertake predictive maintenance using machine learning algorithms, resulting in increased uptime and efficiency.
2. Edge Computing
Because of the needs of real-time manufacturing, some data analysis must be performed at the “edge”—that is, where the data is generated. This reduces the time between when data is generated and when a response is required. For example, detecting a safety or quality issue with equipment may necessitate a near-real-time response. The time it takes to transport data to the business cloud and subsequently back to the manufacturing floor might be excessive, and it is dependent on network dependability. Edge computing also keeps data close to its source, lowering security threats.
3. Internet of Things (IoT)
Smart manufacturing relies heavily on the Internet of Things (IoT). On the manufacturing floor, sensors with an IP address are installed, allowing the machines to communicate with other web-enabled equipment. Large volumes of important data can be collected, analyzed, and distributed thanks to this mechanization and connectedness.
4. Cloud Computing
Any Industry 4.0 technology plan must include cloud computing. Engineering, supply chain, production, sales and distribution, and service must all be connected and integrated for smart manufacturing to be fully realized. This is made feasible through the cloud. Furthermore, cloud computing allows for more efficient and cost-effective processing of the generally vast amounts of data that must be stored and evaluated. Small and medium-sized manufacturers can also save money by using cloud computing since they can right-size their demands and scale as their firm grows.
Cybersecurity and cyber-physical systems have not always been a priority for manufacturing businesses. However, the same factory or field (OT) connection that allows for more efficient production processes also opens up new entry points for harmful assaults and viruses. It is critical to adopt a cybersecurity solution that includes both IT and OT equipment while conducting a digital transformation to Industry 4.0 technology.
6. Digital Twin
Manufacturers may now construct digital twins, which are virtual clones of processes, manufacturing lines, factories, and supply networks, thanks to Industry 4.0 technology digital revolution. Data from IoT sensors, gadgets, PLCs, and other internet-connected things is used to construct a digital twin. Digital twins can help manufacturers enhance efficiency, optimize operations, and create innovative products. Manufacturers can evaluate modifications to a manufacturing process by simulating it, for example, to identify methods to reduce downtime or increase capacity.
Historical Context For Industry 4.0 Technology
1. First Industrial Revolution
The first industrial revolution, which began in the late 18th century in Britain, enabled widespread manufacturing by utilizing water and steam power instead of only human and animal power. Rather than meticulously producing products by hand, finished goods were constructed with machines.
2. Second Industrial Revolution
The second industrial revolution, which began a century later, brought assembly lines and the utilization of oil, gas, and electricity. These new power sources, along with more improved communications through telephone and telegraph, enabled manufacturing processes to achieve mass output and some automation.
3. Third Industrial Revolution
The third industrial revolution, which began in the middle of the twentieth century, revolutionized production by introducing computers, enhanced telecommunications, and data analysis. Factory digitization began with the integration of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) into machinery to assist in the automation of specific operations as well as the collection and sharing of data.
4. Fourth Industrial Revolution
The fourth industrial revolution, commonly known as Industry 4.0 technology, is now underway. Informed data helps to manufacture things more effectively and productively across the value chain, as seen by increased automation and the use of smart equipment and smart factories.
Manufacturers’ flexibility is enhanced so that they may better satisfy consumer requests through mass customization, eventually aiming for efficiency with a lot size of one in many circumstances. A smart factory may achieve information transparency and better judgments by gathering more data from the manufacturing floor and connecting it with other company operating data.