Industry 4.0, the Digitization of Industries with IT
The industries have been through numerous revolutionary phases and transformations since beginning.
From hammering the wood to make a cart out of it to the huge automatic automobiles industries, the industry has evolved through numerous phases- thanks to IT.
Industry 4.0 refers to further development of growth and production using IT techniques and technologies. IT plays the key role in this fourth industrial revolution.
This is the fourth industrial revolution that is transforming the industry from traditional mode to the ‘High Tech’ smart digital mode aided by smart softwares, data or IOT (Internet of Things).
Want to learn more about Industry 4.0 and the role IT plays in this revolutionary phase? Here is what we’ve for you in this article:
- How it started?
- What is achieved so far?
- What more has to be done yet?
How and Why It Started?
The industry has evolved through many phases from physical and mechanical to digital and high-tech since the 1800s.
To make these transformations understandable, experts have categorized these revolutions into First, Second, Third and Fourth industrial revolutions.
The industrial revolutions were based on the idea of efficient production. Which meant to reduce manual labor and working hours while maintaining the production capacity the same.
With passage of time, technological advancements helped in achieving this target and the industry evolved from the First Industrial Revolution to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The age from 1700 to 1800s is considered as the age of the First Industrial Revolution.
During this time industries evolved from relying on human labor aided by animals to operate certain machines of that time to a more efficient and optimized labor aided by water and steam operating systems to perform heavy tasks.
IT concepts and technologies were not introduced to industries during this age. The industries relied on mechanical and physical systems for production and value addition purposes.
The second industrial revolution started in early 20th century when electricity was introduced in industries. It was the time when the concept of mass production in an assembly line took birth with the introduction of IT in the field.
Small electronic systems were introduced. Although these systems were not smart or high tech, yet they helped in increasing the efficiency of the work and service.
Third industrial revolution in late 20th century introduced more electronic and digital systems to the industry. It was the time when the smart use of computers transformed analog industry into a digital industry enhancing its efficiency.
Then came the Fourth Industrial Revolution or the Industry 4.0.
It started a few decades ago when the manual systems were transformed with the high tech, automatic and IT based systems. This all started when IT techniques made the communication among computer systems possible.
Today we see fully automated huge industries like Apple where almost the whole manufacturing process is done by smart, high-tech robotic systems aided by IOT, Big data and artificial intelligence.
The IT technologies have provided Industries a more interlinked, efficient and holistic approach. It ties physical mechanism and digital mechanism together with the string of data and internet and offers a better hold and a boost in productivity and growth.
This is just beginning of this revolution; a lot has to take place yet.
What is achieved so far?
Industry 4.0 has benefited small and large scale business with IT techniques up to so much extent that it is difficult to cover each and every benefit of it in a single article.
However, we will discuss some most important achievements of this physico-digital concept.
Value Chain (Supply Chain Management)
Industry 4.0 has made it lenient for industries to keep an eye on their supply chain by providing them data visibility across the entire supply chain. Industries are using this system to deliver their product’s supply faster, cheaper and with better quality to the market.
Industry 4.0 systems allow the industries to see the virtual future of their business. It means, the companies can detect the potential crisis or problems they are going to face in future before the crisis actually take place using the industry 4.0 systems. These systems sense the problems in machinery and tell what should be fixed to avoid bigger crisis in the future. In simple words, the Industry 4.0 has transformed the preventive approach of businesses to the predictive approach.
In Smart Factory, all the machines, logistic chains and engineering works communicate with each other in the production process to ensure the double efficiency using the available resources.
This is done by the use of IT (big data, cloud computing, cyber physical systems and IoT) which lays the base for value chains and offers standard and secure connection among the systems involved in the production process.
The industries are converting their manufacturing lines to smart factories to ensure the best production efficiency – Thanks to the Fourth Industrial Revolution
What more has to be done yet?
No doubt, the industry 4.0 has transformed the way of production and growth for companies up to a huge extent.
But still, there is a lot to be done yet on the larger canvas. Let’s have a look on the future perspective of the Industry 4.0 and how it can change the present laws of production and growth.
Changing SMEs into Industry 4.0
Irrespective of industrial revolution, there are still the small and medium enterprises that are facing deficiencies in financial resources, organizational culture and technology. This lack of industrial revolution is keeping these SMEs out of the competition while the large enterprises are boosting their production using 4.0 maturity model or Industry 4.0 concepts.
These SMEs need to migrate from traditional working model to the industry 4.0 models to ensure larger production to benefit the local and international market. But the systems are often expensive to an extent that the SMEs cannot afford it. This puts a responsibility on governments as well as the system developers to produce such systems that SMEs can afford and make their companies smart and tech based.
Transforming Industry 4.0 to Industry 5.0
The world is now focusing on transforming the industry 4.0 to industry 5.0 with the aim of combining humans and machines in a way that the two complement each other in the working environment without replacing the one with the other.
The model is based on the idea that the machines (cobots or robots) are allocated the tasks that involve danger or risks and the humans are used as intellectuals in the process to create and control the programs that run those robots and machines. This will create an environment with the fusion of human intelligence and the artificial intelligence.
This approach will enhance the production and benefit the end consumer as well as the manufacturer. This will also allow people to develop new skills in the process of growth and production.
To achieve this, the most important change needed is the change in “Organizational Culture”. The traditional forms, skills, tools, softwares and hardwares must be fused with robots, cobots and high tech systems.
One more thing to achieve industry 5.0 is to control the production. Due to industry 4.0, the production has increased to a huge level that if the SMEs also migrate to 4.0 model of industry, the production will be more than the market’s requirement. Industry 5.0 relies on IT to calculate the actual market’s requirement and then produce the products to an extent that is needed. This will save both the resources and the time in the process of production and supply.
Industry 4.0 is a concept powered by IT applications to enhance the production and growth of companies at the same time reducing the manual labor, cost of production, risks and working hours. IT is the main aspect of this model by providing big data, cloud computing and IoT applications to the industry.
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