Ever since the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution has completely changed the world of manufacture. This initial revolution, which harnessed the power of steam engines in mass manufacture systems, was the major change that allows today’s consumers access to many of the goods and services that we purchase.
However, things didn’t stop with the Industrial Revolution. The industrial business has been advancing at a prodigious rate, and these technological enhancements show no sign of slowing down.
Lately, one of the things that have been making headlines in the industrial world is the concept of Industry 4.0, i.e. the 4th iteration of the Industrial Revolution. The big idea here is that the world of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and big data is now completely changing the landscape of industrial manufacturing.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the impact of Industry 4.0 on the world.
The principal idea behind Industry 4.0 is that the tools used within are able to identify patterns. This is, in essence, the big idea behind artificial intelligence and machine learning. Think about it: computers are now analyzing huge amounts of data to correlate different variables.
That way, based on the input of one factor, they can predict the output of another.
The implications of this are enormous. The first benefit that one can hope to see from Industry 4.0 is an identification of opportunities for improvement. Because massive amounts of data can now be crunched together and analyzed by big data systems, manufacturing managers can better see gaps in their manufacturing process that they can act on.
The next benefit is increased visibility into the interconnection of the various systems and technologies that exist in your industrial facility. One of the other aspects of Industry 4.0 is the Internet of Things or IoT.
The central concept of IoT is the interconnectivity of different machinery. By connecting different machines, you can connect different processes. This gives you big-picture visibility into what is going on in your plant, allowing you to again optimize operations.
Then here comes the big kicker: automation. The natural consequence of something like artificial intelligence is that the system learns as it goes. It can analyze data, find a recommendation to optimize for a certain variable (e.g. production speed), then automatically implement those recommendations with technology like a pneumatic regulator.
Then, the output from those recommendations can again be tested, and again patterns can be found to optimize the system.
The real-world implication of this is enormous. Firstly, a facility will be able to realize the gains in the variable that they are optimizing for, whether that is cost or speed of manufacture. And second, because of the automation aspect, the fewer human staff is necessary, which again translates into cost savings.
Technology and Industrial Business
There’s no doubt that the close intermingling of technology and industrial business is here to stay. And with the benefits that Industry 4.0 could provide, why would you not want it around?For more business advice, check out the rest of the website!