Industry 4.0 for a better future?
Updated: Apr 6
“The industry 4.0 concept or future industry correspond to a new way of organizing the means of production. This new industry placed itself at a crossroad between the virtual world, digital design, products management and real-world objects.” This is the Wikipedia definition. To simplify it, it is the combination of new technologies, like virtual reality, with the traditional supply chain processes. The industry 4.0 allows professionals to try the supply chain before putting it into place or even analysing the ergonomics of the workstations they want to setup.
It empowers professionals and business owners to have a better control under every aspects of their operations, to leverage instant data to boost their industry productivity, improve their processes and drive growth.
But where does it come from?
The industry 4.0 corresponds to a new revolution with a smarter industry, defined by the interconnexion of machines and systems and on production sites but also outside, with clients, other productions sites and partners. It connects a physical object with a digital one or with a digital device.
One key notion of the industry 4.0 is the digital twin, meaning being able to create and use a digital copy of a factory, a machine, a product or even an operator. The uses of the digital twin are numerous: from product design to its review to factory installation scenarios, or ergonomics analysis.
The industry 4.0 allows to organize production processes generated by innovations in link with: connected objects (IOT), VR, 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI), to operates data. These are the industry 4.0 ingredients!
A bit of history for this industry 4.0.
In the past, we experienced a few industrial revolutions, three exactly. The first industrial revolution took place in 18th century with the exploitation of coal with the James Watt’s steam engine. The second one happened the same century with the electricity and mechanic introduction, and the transport development. The third revolution was brought in the 20th century thanks to the electronic, telecommunications and IT.
And finally the fourth revolution based on what have been said before: smart industry and the use of new technology in a wider range of working fields. It was brought to the fore in 2011 during an indutrial technology fair/exhibition.
The 4th industrial revolution had an impact on everyone’s everyday life thanks to new technologies, development like smartphones, Augmented and Virtual Realities or internet.
One important point is that the Industry 4.0 put itself at the service of more and more industrials through the years. Why industrials are the principal target? They are the field of professionals which used the most machines and systems interconnexions. They also used robots that, thanks to new technologies, can be programmable, kind of independent. This new generation of industry will see the appearance of humans and robots collaborative work, finally working hands in hands.
What are the benefits of the industry 4.0 and what can be its future?
We observe different kind of benefits:
- Optimization and management of the supply chain,
- Precautionary maintenance and analytics,
- And boost and tracking of asset.
For the first one: Thanks to the industry 4.0, solutions were created to give business owners a better insight, and data visibility on their supply chain in its globality. Companies can deliver services and product to market faster, cheaper and of good quality thanks to their leverage of the supply chain management abilities compared to their less efficient competitors.
For the second one: The industry 4.0 also provides solutions for manufacturers. These solutions gave them the capacity to foresee when potential bugs - problems will happen before they do. Nowadays, manual maintenance is not sufficient enough. New technologies systems can define when problems are arising, or when machinery need to be fixed and can also tell what are the potential issues that we may face. This way we can solve the problems before they happen or become even bigger. Analytics are essential today for manufacturers because they can ask themselves what can or will happen? How can it be fixed? These types of analytics questions enable manufacturers to go from the analysis phase to predictive maintenance phase as you can see on the graphic below.
And last but not least: by providing assets to manufacturers at each stage of the supply chain, the industry 4.0 allows them to be more efficient, to keep a good pulse on inventory, on quality, and on optimized opportunities in relation with logistics.
Industry 4.0 will guide business owners to a new level of optimization and productivity. Customers will also enjoy new customized objects which are already in stores like VR headset (Virtual Reality) for example. The economical reward is not negligible too. The researches and experimentations are ongoing and essential at this step of this new industry.
Light&Shadows includes itself in the Industry 4.0 through the solutions they offer. For example Interact, a Plug-In for the famous game engine Unity, allows the user to interact with their 3D data and PointCloud and to create complex VR/AR scenarios in just a few clicks.
To discover this Plug-In for Unity, follow this link: https://light-and-shadows.com/projet/interact/