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What is industry 4.0?
We’re in the midst of a vital transformation around the way we manufacture products thanks to the digitization of manufacturing. This transformation is so riveting that it is being called Industry 4.0 to represent the fourth revolution that is happening in the manufacturing sector.
Even though some consider Industry 4.0 as solely a marketing buzzword, transformations are occurring in manufacturing that deserves recognition.
Industry 4.0 is the new phase of the industrial revolution which focuses primarily on machine learning, fuelled by real-time data monitoring and processing, interconnectivity between machines and computers in the autonomous systems. Some refer Industry 4.0 as IIoT( industrial internet of things) or smart manufacturing.
Companies face formidable challenges while adapting to new technologies. To build and sustain a lead in the race to full execution, they need to expand and increase their practical knowledge about digital technologies and the related use cases—and then develop and implement customised digital manufacturing procedures.
While several companies might still be in denial about how Industry 4.0 could change their business or are coping to find the expertise or knowledge to know how to best adapt, several others are implementing changes today and preparing for a future where smart machines improve their business.
Every organisation is operating for different prospects for several industry segments in various ways with a different culture and international standards. But all of them face the same challenges i.e., improving production quality, monitoring and processing real-time data of the production.
In Industry 4.0 manufacturing units partners with physical production and operations including smart digital technology, machine learning, and big data to create a more holistic and better-connected ecosystem for companies that focuses on manufacturing and supply chain management.
Industry 4.0 is not only using new machines and new technologies. It is about using the correct technology to improve efficiency and revolutionizing the way the entire business operates and grows.
Basic IIoT Terms
There are numerous concepts and terms that relate to IIoT and Industry 4.0, but below are 12 foundational words and phrases everyone needs to know before you decide whether you want to invest in Industry 4.0 solutions for your business:
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): Business process management tools that are used for managing information across an organization.
- IoT: IoT stands for Internet of Things, a concept that indicates connecting physical objects like sensors or machines and the Internet.
- IIoT: IIoT stands for the Industrial Internet of Things, it refers to the connection between people, data, and machines as they relate to manufacturing.
- Big data: Big data refers to large collections of organised or unorganised data that can be collected, saved, arranged, and scrutinised to explain patterns, trends, associations, and opportunities.
- Artificial intelligence (AI): Artificial intelligence refers to a computer’s intelligence to perform tasks and make decisions that would require some level of human intelligence in the past.
- M2M: It stands for machine-to-machine and it refers to the communication that occurs between two separate machines through wireless or wired networks.
- Digitization: Digitization refers to the process of collecting and converting various types of data into a digital format.
- Smart factory: A smart factory is one that invests in and leverages Industry 4.0 technology, solutions, and approaches.
- Machine learning: Machine learning refers to the ability that computers have to learn and improve on their own through artificial intelligence—without being explicitly told or programmed to do so.
- Cloud computing: Cloud computing refers to the practice of using interconnected remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process information.
- Real-time data processing: Real-time data processing refers to the abilities of computer systems and machines to continuously and automatically process data and provide real-time or near-time outputs and insights.
- Ecosystem: An ecosystem, in terms of manufacturing, refers to the potential connectedness of your entire operation—inventory and planning, financials, customer relationships, supply chain management, and manufacturing execution.
- Cyber-physical systems (CPS): Cyber-physical systems, also sometimes known as cyber manufacturing, refers to an Industry 4.0-enabled manufacturing environment that offers real-time data collection, analysis, and transparency across every aspect of a manufacturing operation.
Now that you have a better understanding of some of the core concepts related to Industry 4.0, you’re ready to dig deeper into how smart manufacturing can revolutionize the way you run and grow your business.
So how this 4.0 Evolved?
It all started in the 1700s. Earlier most of the work was either carried out by animals or by humans. In the late 1700s, human beings started focusing on machines, this commenced the Era of Industrial Revolution. This revolution is categorised into four periods such as industry 1.0 to industry 4.0
It is assumed that it happened somewhere in the late 1700s. During this period people started optimising the manual labour and animals to employ some kind of machine to do the same work in a lesser period. The water steamed engines were developed to complete this needs and from here the industrial era roused.
It all started in the early 20th century. We learnt to mine and started using steel. Also, learnt to invent and distribute electricity. People started using electricity for daily work and in factories. This increased the efficiency of the manufacturing processes. Here the assembly line concept was introduced to boost productivity.
In the mid of the 20th century, the industrial world was progressing at its maximum pace, and almost every day something new was invented. In this era, the world of manufacturing was incorporating these innovations in the machines. New electronics and computer-based technologies started evolving. The place of electric-mechanical machines was taken by computer-operated machines which were far more efficient and time-saving than the normal electric operated machines.
In the previous revolutions, we observed that machines operating on r steam powered engineswere replaced by electric machines and later it got replaced by automatic computer-operated machines which interacted with each other to decide the next course of action. Following is the image which introduces each industrial revolution.
So what changed in industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 takes the manufacturing or operating a factory at a new level. It interconnects the multiple digital technologies with each other and shares the data by using IoT (Internet of Things). The IoT allows the user as well as a control unit to access the real-time data of all the systems running in the factory. This allows better collaboration of digitally connected devices with each other as well the control unit. It provides comprehensive, holistic, interlinked approach towards manufacturing as it establishes connection between partners, vendors, products and business people, hence it gives business owners better control and understanding of every aspect of operation, and also allows them to operate the factory on its peak load without harming any machine or human being operating the machine.
This gives an instant boost to productivity, improve a process, and drives growth and safety.
Let us check what the benefits of using this new revolution-are
· Supply chain management and optimization.
· Predictive analytics/ maintenance.
· Asset tracking and optimisation.
· Store Management.
· Sales plan optimisation.
· Production plan optimisation.
· Increased efficiency
· Increased profitability.
· Enables coordination between the teams due to same data shared.
· Increased product quality
· Increased customer satisfaction
· It makes you more competent.
Connectwell and industry 4.0
Connectwell is a leading manufacturer of DIN Rail Terminal Blocks, Interfacing Modules and Slim Relays. These are the building blocks of any of the advanced control systems.
All Connectwell products are built on standard IEC and UL guidelines. The product information and technical data is being made compliant with ecl@ss requirements. As a result all product data is built on certain parameters which are then universally recognised and accepted.
With an evolving industrial environment, customers require a flexible and efficient wiring solution with zero compromises on reliability. Connectwell has designed an innovative solution that has been gaining popularity with both panel builders as well as machine manufacturers.
Connectwell’s freely available “Virtual Config” software allows Terminal Block users to configure pre-built customised DIN Rails with Terminal Blocks and effectively communicate with this standardised data across their individual value streams. They can not only order customised Rail assemblies from Connectwell but also have version corrected data readily available in real time within their organisation.
Connectwell’s product data is also available on ePlan as standard library information. Again standardised data is available across platforms to facilitate organisations implementing Industry 4.0 concepts.
Conclusion - Industry 4.0 spans the entire product life cycle and supply chain— design, sales, inventory, scheduling, quality, engineering, and customer and field service. Everyone shares informed, up-to-date, relevant views of production and business processes—and much richer and timelier analytics. It is definitely more than just a buzzword!