What is Industry 4.0 and what changes it will bring to the business world?
The changes that this whole spread of technology was bringing in our everyday life and the world of business, it was to some extent predictable, but we couldn’t predict how radical and how fast would these changes will come. It was not easy to prognosticate that so early, that the next revolution in industry and production was about to rise. We did not expect to speak so soon, for the Industry 4.0.
What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is the current trend of automation and data exchange in the field of production technology, where computers and automation are connected with a new way, combining the online world with the world of industrial production. In Industry 4.0, the decisions and the monitoring of the functions of production of a factory are taken online.
The term «Industrie 4.0» was first recommended in Germany by a team working on the 4.0 Industry and are recognized as founders and the driving force behind the industry 4.0.
What are the characteristics of the Industry 4.0?
The features provided by the German Government for the Industry 4.0 are:
- The intense customization of products according to the terms of flexible (mass) production.
- The improvement of the required automation technology with the introduction of the methods of self-optimizing, self-adjusting, self-diagnostic and cognitive function.
- Smart support of the employees in their increasingly complex task.
The purpose of the Industry 4.0 is the physical systems to communicate and cooperate with each other and at the same time with the human factor (operators) in real time through the wireless network.
When a factory or a production system can be said that belongs to the Industry 4.0?
There are four design principles which should be identified and supported by companies belonging to the Industry 4.0:
The ability of machines, devices, sensors, and people to connect and communicate with each other via the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of People (IoP).
The ability of information systems to create a virtual copy of the physical world by enriching digital plant models with sensor data. This requires the aggregation of raw sensor data to higher-value context information.
First, the ability of assistance systems to support humans by aggregating and visualizing information comprehensibly for making informed decisions and solving urgent problems on short notice. Second, the ability of cyber physical systems to physically support humans by conducting a range of tasks that are unpleasant, too exhausting, or unsafe for their human co-workers.
The ability of cyber physical systems to make decisions on their own and to perform their tasks as autonomously as possible. Only in the case of exceptions, interferences, or conflicting goals, are tasks delegated to a higher level.
Of course, as it is understood, the Industry 4.0 is not easy to be implemented, since there are many problems that need to be clarified and resolved. Data security, credibility and lack of experienced staff, are some of these problems. It is also mentioned the issue of the side effects that the Industry 4.0 will bring in employment. It is not difficult to calculate, that by applying these smart systems, there will be a loss of job positions for people with no or little expertise.
The Industry 4.0 is a challenge, but the change is the only way. The big technological leaps contain a great risk but also many opportunities for the business world, such as investments, the offer of new and improved products and services and the creation of new markets. Change is inevitable, but preparation for the change is possible.
P.G.A. & E.L.