A Timeline of Industrial Revolutions
Water power, steam power, mechanization
Lights out manufacturing
What will change in Industry 4.0?
Visualization - Dashboards will display up to the minute data related to production, sales, costs, etc.
Integration of systems - Automated workflows will be linked to many systems that currently require user inputs. Measurement systems will constantly collect and store data.
Condition monitoring - Mechanical systems will be armed with accelerometers to measure vibration profiles to predict failure far before a human is able to realize. Pumps, motors, spindles, etc. will all be run on a predictive maintenance program to allow for planned downtime.
Advanced robotics - Robots traditionally require protective cages. New age collaborative robots (insert link) are safe for working side-by-side with humans.
Automated warehousing - Shipping, receiving, and transportation will utilize AGVs (automated guided vehicle) and RFID chips. Traditional user inputs during shipping and receiving will be automated.
Lights-out manufacturing - When Industry 4.0 is complete, it may be possible to run production when no personnel are at work.
Virtual reality - Training will be performed through the use of augmented reality to increase learning efficiency and improve situational awareness.
Big data & analytics - Connectivity and constant inputs from machines, measurement systems, and databases will allow predictive modeling to be performed and machines to “learn” as conditions change.
The largest disruptive technology during Industry 3.0 was computers, significantly changing the way we work. Now, Industry 4.0 is upon us and will again change our relationship with technology by making the smart factory a reality. It deeply relies on devices to have embedded computing and communication, in order for processes to communicate and interact with one another, making our factories more efficient and productive. Further, analytics and decision will no longer occur in a central location by individuals. Instead, predictive analysis will lead to decision-making models in real time using new software.
Industry 4.0, the most alluring phrase since Industry 3.0.
Wait…Industry what? Oh, yeah.
Industry 4.0 presents new technology that are capable of changing the world as we know it. Unfortunately, many companies have glossed over the 3rd industrial revolution and are now focused on the 4th. Before tackling Industry 4.0, the foundation needs to be established. Only once these pillars are completed, Industry 4.0 can take us to the next level.