How Industry 4.0 is making a positive change to Industrial Manufacturing?
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How Industry 4.0 is making a positive change to Industrial Manufacturing?

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With the world going from atoms to bits (physical to virtual), one may argue that the future for manufacturing industries does not look as exciting as some of the emerging digital technologies.

One may be wrong! According to a 2020 article published by McKinsey & Co., 11 separate manufacturing value chains (sectors) in India can collectively generate an additional gross value of $320 billion over the next 7 years. This projected growth comes with the expectancy of a major reform in our industrial manufacturing systems – Industry 4.0.

This article discusses the evolution of Industry 4.0, the major components it includes, and the game-changing potential it holds for your business!

Man, Machine & Manufacturing

In the 300,000-year-old history of Homo Sapiens, our pursuit of transforming the surroundings to suit our convenience has been relatively recent. A major step in this direction came with the Industrial Revolution, which started about 250 years ago.

  • Industry 1.0: Commenced in the 18th century with the mainstream adoption of steam engines. Industry 1.0 marked an acute shift from a human-based energy production setup to systems that generate the necessary energy and fuel the manufacturing processes
  • Industry 2.0: Pioneered by Henry Ford in the early 20th century, Industry 2.0 was associated with the rise of electricity and assembly line production. It created a significant jump in efficiency and productivity of traditional manufacturing outlets with the advent of mass production systems
  • Industry 3.0: Marked by the developments in the world of electronics and computers during the late 20th century. This phase significantly transformed the nature of human intervention in the manufacturing processes by incorporating partial automation via pre-defined programable logic
  • Industry 4.0: IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) are the primary drivers of Industry 4.0. Encouraging a wide-scale integration of smart automated devices with industrial manufacturing setups, the upcoming technologies are leading to the emergence of smart factories

Key Elements of an Industry 4.0 Integrated Smart Factory

The essence of Industry 4.0 is the seamless interconnectivity between machines, so as to optimise the flow of information. The eventual goal is to synergise the industrial manufacturing processes by enhancing coherence within a system and involving minimum human intervention. This can be achieved by bridging the gap between the physical and the digital world.

Some of the key technologies associated with Industry 4.0 include:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML):

An attempt at mimicking human intelligence and common human functions such as planning and decision making. Machine Learning is a specific domain of Artificial Intelligence that deals with the ability of machines to learn on their own. This is achieved by analysing data in the existing database of the machine and performing new task iterations to gather new information consistently.

  • Advanced Robotics:

Programmable machines that can carry out a set of physical tasks as defined by a pre-specified logic. They are specifically useful in the manufacturing industry while performing superhuman tasks such as lifting heavy objects, performing intricate operations, etc.

  • Internet of Things (IoT):Β 

A network of physical objects that allows communication between each of its elements. This is achieved by sensing input information and exchanging it with other similar (smart) objects via inter-device internet connectivity. For example, smart cars can assess the quality of the roads travelled by detecting parameters such as roughness, gradient, cracks, etc. and send that data to a common territorial server. The server could process this data, and assign a priority score based on the different quality parameters and road usage frequency. This can help the local authorities identify roads that are in need of immediate maintenance.

  • Cloud Computing & Big Data:

Cloud computing allows the storage of huge chunks of data coming in through different data centres on a common platform. With such a large-scale dependence on the processing and transfer of information, efficient storage of data becomes the backbone of Industry 4.0. Moreover, easy accessibility and organised analysis of this data are equally important in helping smart systems take a decision. This is where big data analytics comes into play. The advancements in cloud computing have further allowed big data processing times to decrease significantly.

  • Cyber Security:

As we move towards a greater degree of dependence on virtual systems, it is now more than ever important for us to secure our digital networks in order to safeguard our physical infrastructure. The slightest breach in security could lead to the production of a defective batch of products, resulting in losses worth crores of rupees. Therefore, heavy investment in cyber security will become a necessity in the manufacturing sector within the next few years.

  • Additive Manufacturing:

Commonly referred to as β€œ3-D Printing”, this technology has made massive leaps in the last few years. The primary advantage of this technology is that unlike most traditional industrial manufacturing processes in their current form, additive manufacturing can easily be integrated with smart devices. It also helps produce lighter and stronger products with high dimensional accuracy.

  • Augmented & Virtual Reality (AR/VR):

With the rise of metaverse and web 3.0, AR/VR technology is in the news for all good reasons. However, industrial augmented reality is more subtle than what we envision it to be. Augmented reality can work as an additional digital layer, helping industry workers scan the different elements of a machine, identify any working flaws and optimise the assembly line accordingly.

What to Expect from Industry 4.0?

  • Improved Efficiency:

Fully implemented smart factories (an integration of the best industry 4.0 practices) can reduce input costs per unit and skyrocket production by improving the number of units produced per unit time.

  • Digital Lean Manufacturing:

Lean is a set of Japanese principles that aim at reducing waste and optimising operating time. Automation of manufacturing processes can help track the data better using digital tools, thereby suggesting optimal solutions based on precise data sets. According to a study published by Deloitte, digital lean accelerates waste identification and mitigation during manufacturing processes.

  • Further Advancement in Technology:

Once industry elements start interacting with each other in a controlled manner, we may be able to find some unique insights that not only influence our future industrial manufacturing processes but may also change the way we perceive technology.

 

India is emerging as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, thanks to its manufacturing sector. It, therefore, becomes essential for Indian manufacturing units to adopt industry best practices and stay ahead of their global competitors. Industry 4.0 is an inevitable change and this transitioning phase presents the best opportunity for SMEs in India to adapt to the change and increase their annual turnovers significantly.

Industrybuying.com offers the best industrial manufacturing tools and electronic accessories that are coherent with top international standards and offer the best returns on your investment. Our customer-friendly payment solutions – including Buy Now Pay Later can help you acquire business inventory on credit at 0% interest! Step into the future by shopping with India’s most trusted B2B e-commerce platform today!

 

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