Industry 4.0- What is it? History, Current Applications & Future

Industry 4.0- What is it? History, Current Applications & Future
What is Industry 4.0?
How is it helpful?
What can it do for Manufacturing Industries?

If you feel bombarded by these questions, we are here with some intriguing answers. Let’s first begin with how Industry 4.0 comes in the picture and what were the earlier phases.

The term ‘Industry 4.0’ or I.40, I4 was first founded in 2011. It was coined during a project about the high-tech strategy by the German government. Most importantly, to promote the computerization of manufacturing sectors. Some do dismiss Industry 4.0 as a mere marketing fuzzword. On the contrary, major changes in the manufacturing sectors are simply astounding!

Also here is a brief synopsis of three Industrial Revolution Phases-

Industry 4.0 & Industrial revolution timeline.
First Industrial Revolution
The First Revolution spans from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century. It observed the development of mechanization. A process that ousted agriculture with industry as the foundations of the economic structure of society.
Additionally, discoveries such as
-forging, &
-new know-how in metal
slowly helped form the outlines for the first companies and capitals.
Second Industrial Revolution
At the end of the 19th century, new technological advancements led to the emergence of a new source of energy: electricity, gas, and oil. Moreover, the steel industry began to develop and grow alongside the exponential demands for steel. New Methods of communication through the invention of the telegraph and the telephone. Transportation methods transformed with the emergence of the automobile and the plane at the beginning of the 20th century.
Third Industrial Revolution
Almost a century later, in the second half of the 20th century, Industry 3.0 emerged. As a result, a new type of energy whose potential excelled its antecedents: nuclear energy, arose. It not only witnessed the rise of electronics—with the transistor and microprocessor—but also the rise of telecommunications and computers. This revolution gave rise to the era of high-level automation in production, all thanks to two major inventions:
  • Automatons—programmable logic controllers (PLCs)
  • Robots
The constant changes in the information and communication technologies (ICT) have crushed the barriers between cyberspace and the real world. The concept behind Industry 4.0 is to build a social network where machines can interact with each other, termed as the Internet of Things (IoT) and with people, called the Internet of People (IoP).
Through this, machines can communicate with each other and with the manufacturers to create what is now known as the cyber-physical production system (CPPS). The industries integrate the real world into a virtual one and enable machines to accumulate live data, analyze them, and even make judgments based upon them.

Here are a few application of Industry 4.0 in Manufacturing Industry

1. Identify opportunities

Industry 4.0 offers the opportunity for manufacturers to optimize their operations speedily and efficiently by identifying what needs attention.  

An African gold mine found a different way to grab more information from its sensors. New data showed some unsuspected fluctuations in oxygen levels during leaching, a key process. Fixing this increased yield by 3.7 percent, worth up to $20 million annually. McKinsey


2. Optimize logistics and supply chains

A well-connected logistics chain can adapt and accommodate when new information is presented. If due to weather, the shipment is stranded, a dynamic connected system can adjust to the current situation and revise manufacturing priorities.

3. Autonomous equipment and vehicles

Some shipyards are leveraging independent cranes and trucks to modernize procedures as they receive shipping containers from the ships.

4. Internet of Things and the cloud

A key element of Industry 4.0 is the Internet of Things, characterized by connected devices. This helps in internal operations. Also through the use of cloud computing, where data is stored, equipment and operations can be run efficiently by using the same equipment, and/or to allow SME to access the technology they wouldn’t be able to use on their own.

Although Industry 4.0 is in its evolving stage, despite that, companies who embrace technologies are already benefitting from this concept and know the potential it has.
The future of Industry 4.0 lies in the convergence of AI and IoT. Artificial Intelligence of Things will impact nearly every market verticals including automotive, aviation, finance, healthcare, manufacturing, and supply chain.