Industry 4.0 and the future of manufacturing

Industry 4.0 is a subset of fourth industrial revolution that concerns industries. Industry 4.0 factories have machineries which are augumented with wireless connectivity and sensors, connected to a system that can visualise entire production and make decisions based on various parameters based on the inputs from various devices of data nodes. Essentially industry 4.0 trends towards automation and data exchange between manufacturing processes and technologies including IOT (internet of things), Cyber physical systems (CPS), Industrial internet of things (IIOT), cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI).

Therefore IIOT aims at achieveing something called ‘smart factories’ which include modular structures like CPS that can create a virtual copy of the physical world to make decentralised decisions. Over Internet of things CPS can communicate and cooperate with each other and humans in real time on factory level as well as organisational level used by participants of value chain.

Principles of Industry 4.0

There are four design principles in Industry 4.0

  • Interconnection : It is the ability of the machines, devices, sensors and people to connect via IoT
  • Information Transparency: Data transparency provided by Industry 4.0 provides users with a vast amount of information data needed to make data-driven decisions. Interconnectivity allows collecting huge data from various sources in manufacturing thus adding functionality and identifying important areas that can benefit from improvement
  • Technical assistance: Ability to support humans by aggregating data and visualizing data comprehensively for making informed decisions and solving problems. CPS also helps humans to carry out tasks that are tedious or dangerous to perform.
  • Decentralized decisions: The ability of CPS to make decisions on their own and to perform tasks autonomously without any human intervention. Only cases that is of exceptional in nature will be delegated to a higher level.

Industry 4.0 envisions environmentally sustainable manufacturing by green processes, green supply chain management and green products.

Major components of Industry 4.0

Cyber-physical systems – CPS are integrations of networking, computation, and physical processes. Embedded computers and networks monitor and control the physical processes, with feedback loops where physical processes affect computations and vice versa.

IOT – It is the system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical or digital machines so that they can transfer data over a network without requiring human to human or human to machine interaction.

Cloud computing – Cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over a remote server and it can also provide services such as infrastructure as a service (IAAS), platform as a service (PAAS) and software as a service (SAAS).

Cognitive computing – Cognitive computing is the use of computerized models to simulate human thought process in a complex situations. That is cognitive computing aims at mimicking human thinking on the lines of artificial intelligence.

Industry 4.0 aims and application

Industry 4.0 aims at including machines that can predict failure and trigger maintenance processes autonomously or to self organize logistics that can react to unexpected changes in production. It also aims at connecting industrial assets like engines, power grids, and sensor nodes over a network so a seamless transfer of data is possible.

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