What is Industry 4.0?
Significant technological advancements are influencing our everyday lives. Not just because of things like smart fridges and self driving cars – technology is also transforming industry and disrupting traditional manufacturing processes. This new era of industry, also known as the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0, is driven by technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Automation, Cognitive Technologies and Machine Learning. Smart Factories are adopting these technologies and integrating them across their production lines. According to Deloitte’s report, “Smart Factories are connected, optimised, transparent, proactive and agile”.
The Effects on Businesses
The digital transformation driving Industry 4.0 reaches further than the walls of smart factories, it is influencing the broader processes & functions across the supply network. Industry 4.0 is also enabling organisations to drive more efficient operations, improving performance and delivering greater customer value.
Smart factories are connecting devices, machines and data to the point where they are creating their own IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). This is helping companies to achieve new levels of exponential growth as well as opening up opportunities for scalability improvements. By ensuring high levels of connectivity throughout their systems, companies are able to pull together constant streams of high-quality data facilitating real-time decision-making.
Analysing data trends and using this information to influence and shape manufacturers’ future operations is crucial. Among many other benefits, this can help identify consumer behaviours, shape product development and optimise risk management. However, it is impossible to analyse big data to the level of detail necessary in order to identify trends without AI. This need for AI and data analytics becomes even more pressing with the rise of smart factories and the consequent data being generated by their range of connected devices and sensors.
The Future of the Smart Factory – Industry 5.0
If the use of robots, Artificial Intelligence and IoT is now the ‘norm’ – surely, therefore, it is valid to wonder where manufacturing can possibly go from here. What does the future of Industry look like?
Robots will continue to have an increasing presence within future smart factories. They will gain more authority and this will inevitably result in an increasing presence of ‘lights out factories’. This is the term used to refer to factories which are completely automated and run by robots – and often this actually means they are run in complete darkness. Additionally, ‘cobots’ or collaborative robots are becoming more prominent. These ‘cobots’ are specifically designed to physically interact with humans and unlike robots are programmed to provide support to humans rather than carry out tasks autonomously. This harmony between robots (or ‘cobots’) and humans will be a key area of focus for Industry 5.0 – in the smart factories of the future. Putting part of a focus back onto humans with collaborative robots will help to incorporate mass-customisation and personalisation for customers. According to the president of Universal Robots, the ‘cobot’ market will increase up to 75% within one year which will mean it is worth $2 billion.
AR is also likely to feature more heavily in the future, especially in more complex assembly lines. Mitsubishi Electric have developed a system which allows users to confirm inspections of products using augmented reality displays and then enter results using voice. This reduces the number of entry errors and speeds up the system.
Technology is continuously evolving at a rapid speed, this means that businesses must be as prepared as they can be for the future!
Understanding the Business Value of New Technologies
This new age of manufacturing and automation is, according to PwC, going to cause an average worldwide cost decrease of 3.6% which is equal to approximately $421 billion. Therefore, it is not surprising that more than three-quarters of manufacturers have already converted to smart manufacturing, or are in the process of doing so. According to Deloitte, the ‘Frontrunners’ in the market are “adoption ready and understand the business value of new technologies.” Click here to view Deloitte’s graphic which shows this.
How Swarm Can Help
Applying mobile, web and cloud technologies, Swarm designs, creates and delivers bespoke, cross-platform enterprise applications. Swarm has had the opportunity to work with some of the companies leading the way for industry 4.0 globally and has created field service applications, workforce management systems as well as suites of data visualisation tools and platforms that use integrated IoT technologies. Increasingly, the projects we are being asked to deliver involve AI, Machine Learning and AR. This is not only allows our team to work with the latest tech on some really innovative projects, but it also means that Swarm is continuously pushing the boundaries within the technology industry.
Read on to discover some of the projects that Swarm has delivered using the technologies listed above.
IMS Evolve is a global business that provides IoT solutions for cold chain. SwarmOnline worked together with them recently to connect and present the temperature data received from multiple industrial fridges located all over the world. By applying the latest IIoT technologies and smart data visualisation techniques, Swarm allowed the data owners to have an on-demand display of their assets and an aggregated view for fast analysis.
Swarm created a field application for E.ON’s smart meter rollout. This technology was out of the factory and in to the field and led to greater supply chain efficiencies within E.ON’s operations. Read More here.
Amazon Web Services – Partner Network (APN)
As official members of the AWS Partner Network Swarm helps companies apply AWS Cloud IoT Services to their supply chains. This can be crucial to success as it enables organisations to spend more of their time concentrating on optimising operations and maximising value delivered to customers, rather than building and maintaining the resources and machinery needed to make it happen.
Talk to us!
- About how to implement these technologies
- For consultation on Data Visualisation and IoT
- For bespoke applications for mobile, web, enterprise and cloud.
Read more about Industry 4.0…