Industry 4.0: Way Up the technology ladder

Think of a production process, where machines are communicating through high-speed Wi-Fi, sharing data and beeping alert for auto maintenance.


Tealfeed Guest Blog

3 years ago | 3 min read

Imagine robots walking around in factory space, carrying out the production process. 

Think of a production process, where machines are communicating through high-speed Wi-Fi, sharing data and beeping alert for auto maintenance.

Imagine a factory, where a car is being manufactured with its parts getting manufactured in separate factory spaces and getting 3D printed to be used. 

Not mere scenes from science fiction movies, these kind of situations are soon to be stark realities, as the digital wave gradually take over various sectors across industries. 

Termed ‘Industry 4.0’ by the Germans way back in 2011, this global digital revolution is being considered as the fourth industrial revolution, that is changing the whole concept of manufacturing. Riding on automation and connected data, digitization of the process is thus ushering the future in the industry. Adopting smart technologies like- AI, robotics, Big Data, Internet of things, integrated machine learning, cloud technology, predictive analytics, and 3D printing is, therefore, the catalyst, in shaping up the future functioning. 

While experts worldwide believe digitization of manufacturing is still not inclined towards applicability and hovering more in ideas, Industry 4.0 can’t be called a far-fetched trend either, if you go by trends. With digital wave sweeping the globe, consumers are now more keen towards customized products and are of shorter attention span. The production process thus needs to constantly switch to rapidly changing demand patterns of the market and create customizable products with short life cycles. Obviously, to meet this kind of evolving conditions, smart factories incorporating latest technologies will play a key role.  

Embracing Industry 4.0 requires the entire manufacturing process to be operated by smart technologies and thus free of human intervention. Hence use of robots and digitally communicating machines in a factory space can be viewed as a global reality of the future. This calls for adoption of industrial sensors, robotics, AI, IoT platforms and cloud technology, drones, AR/VR wearables, industrial blockchain, predictive analytics, data interoperability, that would monitor the entire factory space, maintenance requirement of logistics and equipment and production process through integrated data and analytics of insights shared by connected devices. Furthermore, AI-driven robots, personalized manufacturing, 3D printing, and edge computing will ensure efficiency and increase productivity through automated processes, thereby minimizing human error. Moreover, with constant monitoring, use of sensors and wearables will help in monitoring and auto-controlling the working environment and safety measures for the remaining human workforce involved and help avert or minimize health hazards and risks of accidents in the manufacturing industry.  

But to make all these falls in place, the foremost concern is to select the best-fit technology and implement it correctly and efficiently. Thus the entrepreneur or management would need to make wise choices, identifying the exact things to transform, need and areas of investment and the technologies that would suit best as well as the right talents for the workforce who would skillfully nurture operations to business growth and success. And for these to happen, the business strategy and policies will also have to be modified accordingly.

Deploying the cutting edge technology is still costly enough, but trends suggest, manufacturing globally is catching up with Industry 4.0 with 86% of the top 100 companies spending on R&D, coming from the sector. As depicted in a research study by Deloitte in collaboration with Council on Competitiveness and Singularity University, AI market is projected to reach $72 billion by 2021, while the blockchain market is predicted to grow to $2.3 billion by that time.

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A WEF-Mckinsey study has identified 16 lighthouses among the manufacturing leaders worldwide, who are successfully into digitized manufacturing. No company from India has yet made to the list though, but there are definite footprints etched, in terms of adopting the latest technologies in manufacturing. 

With innovations focused on productivity, trade and evolving consumption patterns, the global digital wave is thus transforming the manufacturing industry like never before. So far, our country might be lagging behind in catching up with the fourth industrial revolution. But as they say, slow and steady wins the race!



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