Making Sense of the Manufacturing Industry 4.0 Revolution

Aug 01, 2022
  • IT
  • operations
  • discrete manufacturing
  • engineering & projects

Industry 4.0 is transforming how the manufacturing industry produces, enhances, and distributes its goods. Read on for more details on this revolution.

Industry 4.0 is transforming how businesses manufacture, distribute, and enhance their goods. Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics, cloud computing, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are among the cutting-edge technologies that manufacturers are incorporating into their processes. 

Robotics, advanced sensors and embedded software are all featured in these "smart shops," which collect and analyse data to help with decision-making. When operational data from corporate systems, customer service, supply chain, enterprise resource planning (ERO), and other supply chains are connected to datasets retrieved through a central management system, better results are curated using the information that was initially isolated and difficult to retrieve. In this article, experts from the team at delaware will introduce industry 4.0 and analyse how it’s driving the technology revolution in our increasingly digital world.

What is Industry 4.0?

The manufacturing industry is rapidly evolving. You must be willing to invest in newer, more vulnerable technologies if you want to prosper in today’s world. This new stage of the technology revolution, known as "Industry 4.0", places a strong emphasis on real-time data, machine learning, automation, and connection. For businesses that concentrate on manufacturing and supply chain management, Industry 4.0, which includes IIoT and smart manufacturing, combines operations and physical production with big data, machine learning, and intelligent technologies to create a more comprehensive and better-connected ecosystem. The requirement for connectivity and access to real-time information across processes, partners, products, and people is a challenge that today's businesses and organisations must all overcome, despite the fact that each component is unique.

From Industry 1.0 to 4.0

The first technology revolution, which began in Britain in the late 18th century, made mass production of materials like  tin and copper possible by substituting human and animal power for just water and steam power. Finished products were manufactured by machines as opposed to being carefully made by hand. Assembly lines and the utilisation of gas, oil, and electricity were all introduced during the second technology revolution, which occurred a century later. 

With the introduction of these new power sources and more sophisticated telephone and telegraph communications, manufacturing processes began to pivot towards automation and mass production. The third technological revolution, which started in the middle of the 20th century, improved production processes by incorporating computers, modern telecommunications, and data analysis. Programmable Logic Computers, which can help automate some operations, were first included in machinery as part of the digitisation of factories.

The fourth technology revolution, commonly known as Industry 4.0, is now underway. With the use of smart machines and factories, informed data enables the production of goods to be more productive and efficient throughout the value chain. Increased flexibility enables producers to leverage mass customisation to better satisfy client requests, eventually aiming to maximise efficiency with, in many circumstances, lot size one. A smart factory can achieve information transparency and better judgments by gathering more data from the production floor and merging it with other company operational data.

Examples of Smart Manufacturing

One essential element of smart manufacturing is IIoT. On the manufacturing floor, machines have sensors with IP addresses that enable them to communicate with other web-enabled devices. Large-scale valuable data collection, analysis, and exchange are made possible by this mechanisation and connection.

Another key component of any Industry 4.0 plan is cloud computing. The service, sales and distribution, production, supply chain, integration of engineering, and connectivity are necessary for the full realisation of smart manufacturing. Cloud computing makes this not only feasible but super efficient. Additionally, the cloud can be used to process the normally vast amount of data being stored and evaluated more quickly and affordably. For mid-sized manufacturing businesses that can appropriately assess their demands and scale as their firm grows, cloud computing can significantly lower startup costs.

Thanks to Industry 4.0's digital transformation, manufacturers can now create supply networks that are digitally identical elements of factories, production lines, and processes. Digital twins are a tool that manufacturers can employ to create new goods, streamline workflows, and boost production. Manufacturers can then test changes to the process to find ways to increase capacity or reduce downtime by modelling a production process, for instance.

Benefits for Businesses

Smart factories can more efficiently generate products that are personalised to each customer's needs. In fact, manufacturers strive to attain a "lot size of one" in a cost-effective manner across a wide range of industrial areas. Manufacturers may quickly produce small batches of unique goods for specific clients utilising cutting-edge simulation software applications, new materials, and technologies like 3-D printing. Industry 4.0 is focused on mass customisation, as opposed to the first industrial revolution, which was about mass production.

A reliable Industry 4.0 plan must link manufacturing operations with a transparent, effective supply chain since industrial operations depend on it. Manufacturing companies can better plan delivery by giving suppliers access to some production data. Deliveries can be redirected or delayed, for instance, if a manufacturing line is experiencing a problem, in order to save time and money. Additionally, businesses can utilise predictive shipping to dispatch finished items at precisely the appropriate time to fulfil consumer demand by evaluating weather, transportation partner, and retailer data. 

How delaware can help?

At delaware, we support our customers as they undergo business and digital changes by providing cutting-edge business technology consulting services. We also give them the resources they need to accomplish their mission-critical priorities through a technology-driven approach that employs best business practices from industry 4.0 in Singapore.