What Industry 4.0 has to offer

Feb 23, 2017 | Industry 4.0, News

The Industrial Internet of Things holds more than we’d first imagine. The internet working of physical devices, machines and other items, embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity used in manufacturing had brought and will bring changes which will form the industry significantly. Underlining the scale of change, the current trend of automation has been titled ‘Industry 4.0’. But what exactly can be expected from the fourth industrial revolution? Molly Connell, online marketing, TradeMachines, explains…

A more unequivocal advantage the implementation of this technological advancement will bring is the improvement of operational efficiency. Predicative maintenance will save costs over preventive maintenance, avoiding downtime and flexible production techniques will allow manufacturers to accomplish more.

But IIoT allows manufacturers to think in a radically new way as well. Traditional business models can evolve into hybrid models by introducing new, digital products among their original products. A perfect example was presented in Accenture Technology’s report on IIoT. Michelin introduced tires which are equipped with sensors. With the help of the information gathered through the sensors, Michelin offers fuel consumption reduction services to truck fleet managers. By offering customer services, such as info services and equipment services, the scale of potential growth increases, making this type of change a crucial advantage of IoT.

Within manufacturing though, not only business models will change, but tasks will be taken over and performed by robots. There is a general fear that the increased implementation of robots will cause a massive job loss. Some expert, like Maurice Conti mentioned in one of his presentations, are convinced that while it is unquestionable that the vast usage of industrial robots will take job in certain sectors, it is more likely that in the future humans and robots will work together, “accomplishing things neither could do alone”.

At the moment there’s no proof of a relationship between a country’s use of robots and the percentage of manufacturing jobs lost, which can be explained by defining the phenomenon as a restructuration of the labor market, creating more demand for highly qualified work force while also boosting productivity.

As we can see, Industry 4.0 is a great improvement, just like the previous industrial revolutions were. Taking advantage of the overwhelming amount of data which can now be process and utilised, we can predict issues before they even occur and mistakes can be minimised. Future manufacturing will be more flexible and dynamic, enhancing adaptability. The way companies can make the most out of IIoT is by making it their own sooner than others, becoming pioneers, making a profit with ideas which were impossible to realise in the past.

About the Author:

Molly Connell is responsible for online marketing at TradeMachines, the Berlin-based, fast-growing online start-up which offers a search engine for used machinery.