Industry 4.0 looks set to benefit manufacturing in a variety of ways across all sectors. If you haven’t researched this fourth industrial revolution yet, this brief guide from Subcon Laser may offer insight.

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 relates to the digitisation of manufacturing and is a transformation that can be compared to the impact experienced in the first industrial revolution. This is now often known as the mechanisation period and involved steam and water power. The second industrial revolution saw the introduction of assembly lines and utilised electricity. The third major breakthrough in industry was known as Industry 3.0 and related to the introduction of computers and associated automation.

This fourth industrial revolution builds on Industry 3.0 and includes the smart, autonomous infrastructure that is powered by machine learning and the collection of data.

Ways in which Industry 4.0 is different

Greater levels of communication and connectivity feed into the revolution being experienced within manufacturing, which is known as Industry 4.0. Much of this development is powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) and the systems which make smart manufacturing a very real factor for many businesses.

As levels of data increase ever more, the smart machines and systems in factories just keep getting more smart, which increases productivity and reduces waste to a minimum. The ever-expanding network of machines within the smart environment enhances the power of Industry 4.0 even further.

Importance of data to Industry 4.0

The importance of data and data collection is intrinsic to the success of Industry 4.0, across all manufacturing sectors. This relies on cloud technologies and the Internet of Things, and it’s gradually becoming apparent that IT and manufacturing or operations are inextricably linked within this environment (insert link: http://www.subconlaser.co.uk/trends-that-will-define-intelligent-manufacturing-in-2019/).

Some existing applications for Industry 4.0

Every organisation faces its own unique challenges and struggles for survival. However, it’s the brands that are adopting Industry 4.0 technologies that are breaking ground for all other organisations. It’s also true to say that these brands could well become leaders within their sector, and certainly outstrip competitors that don’t make best use of available technology and information.

Just some of the current uses for Industry 4.0 include:

Smart, connected machinery within manufacturing environments collects and analyses data which can impact on a variety of activities in the plant, including maintenance, performance and inventory levels. When Industry 4.0 is implemented within a manufacturing plant, it allows greater insight and opportunity to identify patterns that just cannot be picked up by human beings within such a short timeframe. This allows for far greater optimisation of operations. Data from connected sensors in machinery and on assembly lines are communicated instantly via cloud technology, to ensure any problems are picked up at the earliest opportunity.

Within supply chains and logistics, heightened connectivity ensures all organisations are aware of the latest developments. This makes it easier to ensure shipments are received on time and stock levels are maintained at optimum levels.

Many logistics organisations and yards already feature autonomous vehicles and equipment, ranging from cranes or trucks to automated picking lines.

Robotics are also increasingly common within the modern manufacturing methods of larger brands. This technology is also becoming more affordable for smaller organisations, whether this is for picking warehouse products or within assembly line environments. Amazon utilise robots for the movement of goods around their warehouses, while robot food deliveries are currently being trialled at various locations in the UK (insert link: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2018/10/31/worlds-first-robot-delivery-service-launched-milton-keynes/).

Why your business will benefit from Industry 4.0

It’s already been noted that Industry 4.0 is the next big revolution within manufacturing. The popularity of smart devices and greater connectivity have been illustrated by the ways in which consumers have leapt on products such as the Amazon Echo and robotic or smart home appliances and controls. Any manufacturing business that does not want to be left behind in the race for adoption of new technologies and increased productivity is sure to benefit from Industry 4.0 in some way.

There are a variety of trade shows, events, webinars and conferences being held throughout the UK in 2019 and many of the most useful manufacturing uses for Industry 4.0 will be presented at these activities. You can find out more online at the websites of The Manufacturer (insert link: https://www.themanufacturer.com/events/) or attend the Industry 4.0 Summit and Expo being held in Manchester from 10-11 April 2019 (insert link: https://www.industry40summit.com/). Keeping up to speed with all the latest Industry 4.0 developments in your sector is likely to be critical to the ongoing success of your business in future years.

Subcon Laser is a family-run business providing award-winning laser cutting from its Nuneaton HQ. We’re the UK leaders in this field and utilise all the latest laser technologies (insert link: http://www.subconlaser.co.uk/subcon-launch-brand-new-trumpf-8kw-fiber-laser-cutting-system/) to provide our clients with the best possible customer service. Get in touch for more information.