Understanding Industry 4.0
May 15, 2023
If you’ve read my previous blogs (and why wouldn’t you?) you know I love to pick on things that are poorly named, but today it’s a naming trend I want to pick on. Industry 4.0. Really? Was there an Industry 3.912 at some stage that I missed? Of course not. Actually the 4.0 moniker is justified in this case and is drawing attention to what many consider is the 4th Industrial Revolution, and it’s hard to deny we’re participating in something fairly seismic. That said, IoT and digitisation are currently some of the most discussed and yet least understood topics within manufacturing today.
Many commercial organisations might still be in denial about how Industry 4.0 could impact their business or are struggling to find the talent or knowledge to know how to best adopt it for their unique use cases. But be assured that if you’re in manufacturing, building, maintenance, or a whole host of industry sectors and not engaging with IoT and digitisation, several of your competitors are implementing today and reaping the benefits. As the name suggests, if you’re not engaged in the revolution, you’re standing still and liable to get run over.
The integration of physical and digital technologies to create more efficient and productive manufacturing environments is a revolution and IoT, or the Internet of Things, plays a crucial role within Industry 4.0. It creates a network of connected devices that can communicate with each other and be visualised in a meaningful way, and in doing so provides the data to power the revolution.
IoT sensors and devices can monitor and collect data on various aspects of the manufacturing process, including machine performance, production rates, energy consumption, and product quality. This data can be analysed using machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to identify patterns and develop insights that can help optimize the manufacturing process and improve efficiency.
IoT enables predictive maintenance, where machines are monitored in real-time, and issues are identified and resolved before they cause downtime or damage. IoT can also improve worker safety by monitoring environmental conditions and providing real-time alerts in case of hazards or emergencies. It underpins the optimisation of end-to-end processes based on the location and availability of workers, the equipment and the materials they need to get the job done.
That sounds like a revolution to me but implementing IoT in Industry 4.0 still requires careful planning and consideration of security and privacy issues, as well as integration with existing systems and processes. But to deny that IoT is a key enabler of Industry 4.0, providing a wealth of data and insights that can help manufacturers optimize their operations and create new business models? Well, that’s just so Industry 3.0.
However, at Kinsetsu this is not new or news to us as we continue to implement solutions utilising the power of data and ever-maturing sensor devices to drive real and visible innovation for the public and private sectors. For us it’s Evolution 4.0.