11 Terms Playing a Big Role in Industry 4.0

As important as the technology powering Industry 4.0, language is just as crucial. With the flood of new-age devices and systems comes a slew of terms, jargon, metrics, concepts, and philosophies. They’re all carving out a niche in the factory of the future, and it’s critical to get to know them. As with any new idea, understanding the language is key in understanding the concept.

Here’s a look at 11 key terms playing an important role in the rise of Industry 4.0 and the new age of factory operations:

  1. Time-series data — This is historical data collected over time, showing trends and events within a real-time monitoring environment. Manufacturers might use time-series data to observe efficiency or as part of Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA).
  2. Operational intelligence — A real-time understanding of business operations and processes. Operational intelligence allows operators to make dynamic, adaptive decisions that positively affect business.
  3. Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) — How well a specific asset performs. This metric takes into account total performance, including uptime, efficiency, and attributed ROI.
  4. Human-machine interface (HMI) — Machines and humans working together to achieve a single task. Humans operate the HMI programming instructions for a machine to execute with precision, quickness, and repeatability.
  5. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) — The collection of sensors, beacons, software, and interconnected software digitally connecting the physical factory. It’s responsible for quantifying processes and laying the groundwork for automation and augmented tech.
  6. Blockchain — Decentralized records that can’t be manipulated thanks to a ledger system that keeps a historical record, distributed among peers. It’s the future of manufacturing security and integral in the expanding IIoT.
  7. Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication — Networked devices that perform actions without the intervention of humans. Examples include sensors communicating with data aggregation software or machines triggering other machines to perform a task.
  8. Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) — A complex system of sensors and devices that monitor and react to triggers within an IIoT network. SCADA applications are often robust, monitoring for specific problems, then triggering dynamic solutions.
  9. Advanced manufacturing — Using the very best technologies and digital applications to determine the most efficient way of utilizing machinery or forming manufacturing processes. It’s the application of data for the improvement of operations.
  10. Digital twin — A digital copy of an asset, used to keep historical records. Digital twins are used for everything from failure-modeling to record-keeping, providing a better level of insight and oversight for manufacturers.
  11. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) — Instead of owning every digital asset and process used in Industry 4.0, SaaS allows manufacturers to keep costs low by leasing products and services. They can scale as needed, reducing issues of cost and security.

There’s an entire vocabulary of Industry 4.0 terms to learn ― these are just a few of the most-used and most important. As the industry of the future continues to develop, so will the list of terms vital to manufacturers. Learning crucial terms in the infancy of the movement will help build a foundation for a better understanding as it evolves.

Ready for a bonus term? Predictive maintenance. It’s the idea of addressing maintenance and repair issues before they cause downtime. It’s as easy as outsourcing your repairs to a trusted maintenance partner. You can always count on the professionals at Global Electronic Services. Contact us for all your industrial electronic, servo motor, AC and DC motor, hydraulic, and pneumatic needs — and don’t forget to like and follow us on Facebook!
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