What Actually Needs to Be Improved in Manufacturing?
Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution, refers to the use of automation, artificial intelligence, data and machine learning to transform the way manufacturing is done. This includes the use of smart machines that can run various manufacturing systems by themselves with little or no input from human users. Industry 4.0 also entails finding new ways to analyze data in order to optimize the efficiency of your company’s systems.
Top Four Industry 4.0 Changes to Make
As Industry 4.0 rises in popularity, many manufacturers try to optimize and connect everything. But what are the most important improvements that manufacturers should implement as part of Industry 4.0? Today, we’ll explore how to identify the problems that automation can help alleviate, how to predict future problems and how to start implementing the necessary changes.
Here are the top four manufacturing areas to optimize:
1. Real-Time Optimization of Logistics and Supply Chains
By implementing digital infrastructure, your company can collect data about how products travel along your supply chain in real time. You can compare different supply lines to see which one is more efficient and adjust as needed. If something unexpected arises, like inclement weather that could delay a shipment, you can re-route the shipment immediately and minimize lost time. You can also use this data as it aggregates over time to fine-tune your company’s logistics.
2. Autonomous Equipment
With Industry 4.0, it’s possible to engage vehicles and equipment, like cranes, forklifts and similar heavy machinery, that are completely self-driving or self-directing. This can optimize speed, increase safety and dramatically reduce costs for your operations. Implementing simple robots will become more important in the years ahead and help reduce stress and safety risks for human workers. Your human resources can transition into lower risk positions on the floor or take on duties to program and control these robots.
3. Internet of Things and Cloud Computing
The more equipment that is connected via wireless network, the more quickly and seamlessly different sectors of your manufacturing operation can communicate. Your data can only benefit the company if you can analyze it quickly and disseminate the information to wherever it is needed. When your organization has a secure, centralized location for data that goes to your resources almost instantaneously, you can start to fully realize the benefits of Industry 4.0.
4. Additive Manufacturing
The ultimate benefits of 3D printing and the additive manufacturing approach are still yet to be fully understood. Yet it seems likely that additive manufacturing will become vital in the future. Every manufacturer should consider ways to adopt some type of additive manufacturing, even something as simple as using a 3D printer for prototypes.
Technology moves at a rapid pace, and it is hard to know where and when the next leap forward in manufacturing technology will arise. To remain on the cutting edge, consider how your company can identify priorities for improvements and stay abreast of latest developments. The four areas above offer a starting point for optimizing manufacturing technology as part of Industry 4.0
What other Industry 4.0 trends have you noticed in the manufacturing industry? Comment below!