Industry 4.0 – From Data to Information

In terms of Industry 4.0, it’s evolving fast and becoming more and more mainstream, there are many businesses implementing changes and preparing for their future, however, there are just as many that are in denial and clearly don’t understand the impact that it can make to their business?

This seems a little crazy when you consider the capacity that data possesses today, to ignore this seems incomprehensible, data is the new oil that will power the economy through the 21st century.

The sheer speed in which technology is moving forward in todays interconnected world, means that businesses really can’t sit in the shadows when it comes to change, and unless they embrace it, then they simply won’t be able to keep up the pace with their competition.

So, understanding and leveraging this technology now, will see you through the transition from previous information revolutions, to this fourth industrial revolution.

Historical industrial revolutions

Industry 4.0 refers to the fourth industrial revolution. The term was conceived in 2011 and was used to represent the role that cyber-physical systems (CPS), cloud computing, and IIoT (industrial internet of things) will have on manufacturing processes.

Looking at each revolution in turn, we can see how things have moved forwards historically;

  • 1st Industrial revolution – Steam and water power are used to automate production.
  • 2nd Industrial revolution – Electricity allows for mass production with assembly lines.
  • 3rd Industrial revolution – IT and Computer technology are used to automate processes.
  • 4th Industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) – Enhancing automation and connectivity.

Looking at the above timeline, you can see that we have followed a sequence of increased automation and now in the present day, we are at a whole new level by also being able to make use of the Big Data that is now available to us.

From Industry 3.0 to 4.0

The third industrial revolution or Industry 3.0, also called digital revolution, occurred in the late 20th Century with the advance in digital development and automated processes. This meant that in the production process there was more use of computer and communication technologies and less human interference, however there was still a human aspect behind it.

Now, and into the future as Industry 4.0 unfolds and grows, everything will be connected and communicate with one another to ultimately help make better and faster decisions without human involvement. For manufacturers this means that as their machines are getting smarter and with access to more important data, they will be able to operate their factories much more efficient and productive and be less wasteful.

This is the embodiment of the smart factory concept I mentioned in my last blog. With machines that are highly interconnected via the internet and are part of a real-time ecosystem that can visualize, and optimise, the entire supply chain.

Industry 4.0 – embrace it as a new approach

If you look at Industry 4.0, not as a new technology, but instead – as a new approach to achieving results that were not possible 10 years ago, then the transition doesn’t look so challenging.

It’s a matter of taking your current business models and processes and tweaking them with a bit of innovation.

So, whether you are looking at lowering operating costs, increasing productivity or looking to expand into new markets, first you need to focus on what it is that you want to achieve.

It isn’t about overhauling your entire operations to take advantages of digital technology, it’s more about the small steps you can take to begin with.

If your taking your fist steps to digitization in your business and would like to chat with one of our friendly team of experts, please complete the contact form via this link and we will help you plot the course towards your digital journey.

How IIoT will deliver smarter Factories

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has been described as the fourth industrial revolution. Like steam, the production line and information technology before it, the convergence of cyber and physical systems has the ability to utterly transform how factories operate.

  • Find out how the IIoT can speed up the time to market of brand new or enhanced existing products
  • Learn how IIoT can help ensure that those products are more precisely tailored to customers’ wants and needs
  • Sense and analyse demand and material flows, and make adjustments to manufacturing processes

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