The 4 axes of Industry 4.0
According to Rudi, Industry 4.0 has four main axes: vertical integration, horizontal integration, lifecycle management and Work 4.0.
“Vertical integration is all about the networking within the factory, such as through automation devices or services. Important to highlight in Industry 4.0 is the involvement of the ‘connected’ product or workpiece,” he explains. “Similarly, horizontal integration involves connectivity and information flow across an entire supply chain, from raw material producer to end consumer. Added value networks, extending beyond individual factory locations and facilitating the dynamic creation of such added value networks are key.
“The lifecycle management axis has to do with connectivity throughout the entire product lifecycle, ensuring that data created is kept consistent within the entire value stream and can be accessed at all times. The end goal of this aspect is to optimize engineering in order to integrate new functionalities into the product as rapidly as possible.”
However, it’s the 4th dimension, the human dimension (also known as Work 4.0), with the worker in the role of the knowledge/experience carrier, decision-maker and coordinator, that has potential to generate the highest returns if companies get it right. “It’s all about the symbiosis between humans, automated systems and robotics in the production ecosystem.”