Advances of Industria 4.0 and its impact on society

Olivia Brookhouse    14 May, 2020

We are currently living at a time where technology is heavily present in our lives. One of the greatest advances has to be the development of Industry 4.0, known as the fourth industrial revolution. It is a term that refers to how computers, data and process automation are connected.

All of this has transformed the way you can run a business, especially in the manufacturing area. Have you ever thought about how manufacturing could be operated remotely? Well this is now becoming a reality. So what does this all mean?

Forbes Magazine reveals that the most relevant feature is the interconnection of computers. In fact, they can make decisions without any human participation. Combined with cyberphysical systems and the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, all of this results in more efficient and productive factories. However, It’s impact extends beyond manufactuirng and without a doubt, Industry 4.0 has had a strong impact on everyday life.

In fact, KPMG Consulting indicates that according to Gartner reports, the Internet of Things market will be valued at approximately 3.2 billion euros in 2020. Similarly, the market for the Industry 4.0 is projected to reach a 3.4 billion euros next year.

Discover more about the history

Prior to Industry 4.0, there were 3 industrial revolutions, which have each modified the paradigms of the manufacturing environment (Ing Tay et al., 2018). Some notable features are:

  1. Industry 1.0 began approximately in the 1780s. It was dominated by water and steam energy in mechanical production.
  2. Industry 2.0 is a period where mass production excelled and was the main means of production. For example, production in the steel industry allowed the manufacturing of railways in the industrial system.
  3. In the middle of the 20th century, the industrial revolution began. This is where we started to see the introduction of digital technologies. Computers, information and communication technology defined this period.
  4. And finally, industry 4.0, which has forced people to use high-tech devices. This period includes the transformation through digitalization and business automation.

Elements of Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 represents the future of manufacturing worldwide. Among the relevant aspects that are on par with technological trends (Ing Tay et al., 2018), we present the following:

Cyber-physical systems (CPS)

CPS’ comprise of sensors installed in all elements of industry 4.0. You must ensure that each of these systems behaves in a stable manner, especially when using artificial intelligence technologies and the Internet of Things. This feature enables your company to generate global networks that links to storage systems, machinery and production facilities.

Internet of Things (IoT)

What is IoT? It represents the advanced connectivity of systems, services, physical objects, object-to-object communication and data exchange. The Internet of Things is a digital transformation enabler that offers your company infinite possibilities. Thanks to Industry 4.0, you can obtain control and automation of elements such as heating, lighting, machining and remote monitoring in industrial processes.

Big data and analytics

In industry 4.0, having a solid Big Data strategy is beneficial to improve predictive manufacturing, as well as providing a vital guide to the development of industrial technology through the evolution of the Internet. Web analytics processes huge amounts of information generated daily, which would not be possible with traditional methods.

Autonomous robots

A few years ago you probably only envisaged their presence in movies. Today, however, you can find robots with greater versatility, advanced functions and easier operability in various fields. In industry 4.0, robots will be able to interact with each other and actively collaborate with human personnel. They will become increasingly sophisticated and therefore a vital tool in the field of manufacturing.

3D printing

The use of advanced data technologies is promoted throughout industry 4.0. Thus, 3D printing or additive manufacturing tends to make use of new available materials. Some of the products may require a combination of metallic components and smart materials.

Finally, it is important to know that the fourth industrial revolution presents an enormous oppurtunity. The greatest potential of Industry 4.0 lies in improving the world’s manufacturing output that will be able to meet the needs of society.

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