In the manufacturing world, the term Industry 4.0 is creating quite a stir. The aim of Industry 4.0 is to build efficient cyber-physical systems (CPS), in other words, hardware systems with embedded software. In an Industry 4.0 compliant manufacturing plant, services will communicate with each other autonomously using the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices.
The idea of manufacturing automation is not new. The manufacturing industry has been using the power of machine-to-machine communication for a long time. That said, businesses have always been aware of the limits of automation. In the past, there were the hurdles of machine incompatibility, overwhelmed communication channels, expensive instruments, and time-consuming implementations.
Due to the improvements in internet reliability and the explosion of IoT technologies, automation can now overcome a lot of those hurdles, making automation simpler and more affordable. The phenomenon has led to the Industry 4.0 revolution.
Our experts, at ACS Solutions, are excited about the innovations these ideas are bringing to the manufacturing industry. We want to share these ideas and principles with you.
Tenets of Industry 4.0 in Manufacturing
The following principles define an Industry 4.0 implementation:
Interconnection: Machines and humans need to seamlessly connect through an ecosystem of connected devices. The integration of people and IoT devices across the product lifecycle is key to achieving true Industry 4.0 efficiency. Hardware and software need to work together to accommodate human-human, human-machine, and machine-machine interactions.
Information Transparency: In an advanced Industry 4.0 system, vertical applications link information between the physical and virtual worlds. For example, designs and sketches created in the virtual world can flow easily through the system to produce physical objects. On the other hand, data collected with physical sensors can create analytics in the virtual world to help with business decision-making.
Decentralized Decisions: End-to-end system integrations promotes intelligent platforms to make autonomous decisions. Using sensors and other IoT measurement instruments, the system is able to self-monitor and decide on key issues to improve productivity. Levels of decision hierarchy allow machines and humans to resolve conflicts faster.
Technical Assistance: Humans and machines are collaborators in a true Industry 4.0 system. Human acumen is used for higher-level strategic planning. Operations are handed over to the machines. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) further helps automate routine tasks saving precious time and money while eliminating human errors. Mobile applications and IoT devices play important roles in promoting the human-machine collaboration.
Benefits of Industry 4.0 and IIoT System
With a robust and reliable system, you get the following benefits:
Improved Operational Efficiency and Agility
With better automation, companies can make faster decisions on any issue or new requirements. It keeps current processes efficient, improves productivity and makes manufacturing more agile and open to changes.
Better Customer Experience
Industry 4.0 standards help companies have smarter and more intimate interactions with their customers. The transparent flow of information gives businesses more insight. They can respond to the needs of their customers faster.
Better Return on Investment (ROI)
The upfront investment in manufacturing is high. But investing in smart technologies like IoT, Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Smart Machines will help businesses recuperate their expenses faster. Also, efficient automation will lower costs and better customer experience will improve profitability.
At the heart of Industry 4.0 are data and the ability to acquire and process data from sensors and intelligent devices embedded within machines or processes. This data is then converted into useful information for diverse industrial applications, such as predictive diagnostics, preventive maintenance, analytics-driven production optimization among many others. With the advancements in Cloud, Big Data Analytics, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and IIoT technologies, full remote management of a lights-out manufacturing facility is no more a dream.
At ACS Solutions, we have been successful in orchestrating remote management of several facilities ranging from oil pumping units to laundry machines for global leaders across diverse geographies. These remote management implementations have delivered tremendous value in terms of unprecedented efficiency, agility and customer experiences as evidenced by our customers. Apart from this machine learning is an area where we find great potential and in the last couple of years, we have been working with several global clients in solving their prediction and optimization problems using machine learning techniques.
Industry 4.0 is certainly taking the manufacturing world in a whole new direction. It is both exciting and daunting. There is a lot to learn and a lot of new challenges to overcome. At ACS Solutions, our technical and solutions experts are investigating and learning about Industry 4.0 technologies every day. If you want to find out more and talk to an expert, call us or contact us today. We look forward to helping you reach your Industry 4.0 goals.