What Innovations You Can Expect from Industry 5.0

If you’re in the manufacturing business, you’ve probably already heard about Industry 4.0. Maybe your business even uses Industry 4.0 practices already. But now you’re hearing murmuring about Industry 5.0. What is Industry 5.0 — and are there innovations that you can expect from it when it comes to manufacturing?

What Is Industry 4.0?

First, if you’re not sure what Industry 4.0 is, here’s a brief explanation. Essentially, it is a phase of manufacturing where computers and robots work together in a cooperative environment called a cyber-physical system. The command computers make decentralized decisions and tell the automation machines what to do. This frees up the human workers to do oversight, maintenance and strategic planning, and allows a safer, faster, more precise work environment on the factory floor.

Industry 1.0 was the first use of machines for industry, such as steam-powered and water-powered mechanical devices. Then Industry 2.0 brought with it electricity and assembly lines, allowing rapid mass-production. Industry 3.0 was the introduction of computers to aid automated mechanical processes, bringing on Industry 4.0: the cooperation of computers and robots to make a truly automated environment with the help of machine learning algorithms.

What Is Industry 5.0?

So, where does that bring us with Industry 5.0? Industry 5.0 is the brainchild of Michael Rada, President of the International Business Center of Sustainable Development. He hopes to bring the human element back to manufacturing with something he calls Industrial Upcycling, or Industry 5.0 — a sustainable effort to create a system where advanced cyber-physical systems and humans work together cooperatively to provide positive results.

The goal of Industrial Upcycling is what Rada calls a “wasteless world.” In other words: an industry which does not damage the environment. This goal is achieved in six steps.

 The Six “R”s of Industrial Upcycling

  1. Recognize there may be a better way to design and make things.
  2. Reconsider current methods that may be wasteful.
  3. Realize alternatives to letting something become waste.
  4. Reduce the amount of material and energy you use.
  5. Reuse products for new purposes.
  6. Recycle waste into new products.

It’s important to understand that in Industry 5.0, waste has multiple meanings. There is physical waste — what we traditionally think of when we think of waste — but there is also social waste. This can refer to people who want to work but do not have the opportunity as well as process waste, like empty trucks on routes, overproduction, overstock and urban waste, like brownfields and underutilized spaces.

According to Rada, waste can be managed using the three LED (Logistics Efficiency Design) Principles of transparency, profit-sharing and efficiency.

Industry 5.0 and Your Manufacturing Business

Will Industry 5.0 catch on? There are benefits. An Industrial Upcycling philosophy can create more jobs for humans — and human jobs is a big concern with regard to Industry 4.0. The philosophy also fits in with a growing interest in sustainable business practices, including manufacturing practices.

Whether Industry 5.0 will start to become a universally accepted methodology and whether or not it will work for your business remains to be seen, but it is certainly an interesting philosophy that bears watching over the next few years.

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