Industry 4.0 reflects the fourth iteration of the Industrial Revolution. New breakthroughs in both embedded systems and their connective potential have created an interconnected system in a new and exciting way within the manufacturing industry. And this technological revolution is poised to significantly change the way manufacturing works in the future.
At its heart, Industry 4.0 is all about connectivity. This technological advancement allows embedded systems and their related components to connect with smart production tools and processes. This type of connectivity will open new and exciting doors within the manufacturing world by improving industry efficiency and boosting overall production value.
The Power of Connectivity
Behind the inner workings of Industry 4.0, connectivity to smart devices is what will drive these new innovations forward. “Smart” technology device’s effectively streamline operations by utilizing the power of the Internet.
Integrative applications can connect with embedded manufacturing systems that power the industry. And this type of connectivity produces a vast amount of potential in how these systems operate.
Industry 4.0 & The Internet of Things
The so-called Internet of Things (IoT) remains at the center of this transformation. The IoT provides an avenue for machinery and other physical devices to collect data and report it through Internet transmission. It’s this type of dynamic that has already created the changes seen within multiple manufacturing systems throughout the world.
For example, a manufacturing plant installs sensors which can collect a variety of operational data within the machinery. Using the IoT principle, this data is collected, stored, and transmitted across the web for access anywhere in the world. This new system produces a wide range of benefits within the operation itself:
- Heightened Efficiency: Data can be analyzed over time to assess overall functionality, identify pain points in operations, and improve capacity and efficiency.
- Faster Reporting of Malfunctions: Sensors can immediately notify staff when a specific piece of equipment malfunctions or breaks down. This pinpoint accuracy can help technicians find and repair problems faster for improved productivity levels.
- Automation Potential: With self-reporting machinery, automation can be implemented across the board. From there, technicians can analyze incoming data from one vantage point for greater organizational efficiency.
- Improved Development Cycle: This data can streamline operations andprovide the tools to boost a development life cycle from start-to-finish.
The Physical-to-Digital-to-Physical Cycle
While the IoT is the core concept driving Industry 4.0, it’s the interplay between physical and digital that distinguishes it from any other technology. As physical machinery and equipment produce data in digital format, that digital information is then used to improve the processes which drive this physical equipment in the first place.
This includes all of the following areas within the manufacturing process:
- Data Analytics
- Robotics & Artificial Intelligence
- Additive Manufacturing
These components all come together to enable the physical-digital-physical cycle and improve the manufacturing process across-the-board. From R&D to design and more, this innovation has vastly heightened the potential manufacturers have available to them. Accordingly, it has also greatly transformed the overall functioning of manufacturing industries from what existed just 10-20 years ago.