Here are 3 Technologies Every Factory Needs to Succeed in Industry 4.0
The modern factory is more machine than man. Not just machines doing the physical work, but machines operating behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly. Humans still play a pivotal role in manufacturing, but even where there’s labor involved, it’s aided by technology. Case in point, the rise of next-gen tech as part of the Industry 4.0 revolution.
Industry 4.0 is a broad term describing the digitization of manufacturing. But what’s driving this revolution, really? The Industrial Revolution had mainstays like the steam engine and telegraph communications. Electricity powered Industry 2.0. The third generation of industry saw computers and digitization. What innovations will enter the annals of history as the chief drivers of Industry 4.0?
1. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
There’s no doubt history will remember how the IIoT drove manufacturing into a new golden age. Through the IIoT, we’re able to quantify every conceivable element of the factory. That makes it easier to look for patterns and trends, recognize improvements, and produce better products more efficiently.
The broad scope of the IIoT is another reason it’s so impactful. A factory of any size can scale into the IIoT, using data gathered from sensors to monitor aspects of operations important to them. As it grows more affordable and more secure, it’s a good bet most factories will have some level of IIoT integration over the next 5 to 10 years. In the future, the IIoT may very well be the difference between success and failure for factories — especially when it comes to maintenance and repair.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning
AI and machine learning are predicated on the rise of cloud computing. Today’s sophisticated computer programming lends itself to automated learning in whatever context the factory demands. Need a program to detect abnormal pressure levels in a hydraulic cylinder? Want to train a machine to perform spot checks and recognize defects? It can be done (and already is!) using AI and machine learning.
AI and machine learning also bridge gaps in other areas of software. Automation and predictive analytics are both crucial to the modern factory — both powered by smarter machines. Adoption of AI and machine learning are among the most anticipated tech in the coming decade.
3. Mixed Reality Technologies
Imagine being able to perform maintenance and repairs in real time wearing goggles with a HUD interface. Think about how useful 3D modeling and interactive parts would be in learning more about a machine. These instances and many more are possible through simulation technologies. They’re instrumental in Industry 4.0 for so many reasons.
Mixed reality technologies can help reduce errors through practical training and task execution. And, because they’re manipulatable, they give the feel of a real-time, hands-on experience. Simulations are on demand, in depth in a way no tablet or smartphone is right now, and they’re bound to get even better thanks to AI and VR advancements. In the future, they’ll be able to run diagnostics and perform assessments, for even more informed decision-making.
Of the many technologies and innovations sure to drive home Industry 4.0, these three stand apart. And we haven’t even realized their full potential yet! The advancements they spawn are sure to herald a future age of innovation — even as far ahead as Industry 5.0.