Embracing the opportunities offered by Industry 4.0 technologies.
Coined by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2016, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also referred to as Industry 4.0, is the fourth major industrial era, since the initial Industrial Revolution of the 18th century.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution can be described as a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, and impacting all disciplines, economies, and industries.
We have constructed a programme to help organisations exploit the benefits of deploying a range of developing technologies.
These technologies are challenging existing production models by enabling secure, plant-wide connectivity between machines, people, information and business processes.
Have a look at some of the videos below to get an introduction to these technologies.
Initially we examine these new technologies, and predict how they could benefit individual organisations:
- The Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT is a network of interconnected devices, machines, vehicles, objects and even living beings, that have unique identifiers and the ability to share data without human involvement. By 2022, there will be around 35 billion interrelated objects globally.
2. Advanced data collection and analytics including Artificial Intelligence.
The amount of data generated by businesses and customers is growing at an exponential rate. As computational power intensifies, firms are able to accumulate, mine and analyse vast and complex datasets to better mitigate risk, increase efficiency, understand market needs and grow new income streams.
- Human-machine collaboration.
Robots that can work safely alongside humans are entering the realm of reality – and this development is set to transform work environments sooner than most companies imagine.
Thanks to visual analysis, enhanced context awareness and machine learning, analysts predict that robots will work alongside humans in the front-line – performing more complex tasks with increased agility. These smart machines will be able to anticipate needs and meet them, instead of only carrying out set tasks. The role of drones in logistics and inspection will also be examined.
4. Additive manufacturing (AM).
3-D printing technology is advancing fast, enabling the production of solid objects from a digital data source in a range of locations. The benefits for manufacturers include the ability to create prototypes quickly and yield small, customised, finished batch sizes, or even individual products, with fewer resources.
- Cloud-based data storage
Software as a Service (SaaS) based apps. are stored on cloud-based servers, which are much less expensive, much quicker to update and scale, and don’t take up any valuable space. This difference can mean a significant saving in terms of total cost of ownership (TCO). Their impact on improving the effectiveness of the supply chain using ERP systems will be examined.
6. Extended Reality (XR) techniques.
XR incorporates, among other things, the related technologies of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
AR superimposes digital data on the real world, either through mobile devices like tablets or special head-mounted displays (HMDs).
VR uses HMDs to contain the user in a purely digital world.
Both technologies offer a thrilling glimpse into a future that blurs the line between the physical and digital worlds.
One other term is often used in the context of XR: mixed reality (MR).
Augmented Reality Systems:
Isolated applications of AR have been around for decades, but only recently have the technologies required to unleash its potential become available.
AR transforms volumes of data and analytics into images or animations that are overlaid on the real world.
Today, most AR applications are delivered through mobile devices, but increasingly delivery will shift to hands-free wearables such as head-mounted displays or smart glasses.
Wearable AR devices for factory workers that superimpose production-assembly or service instructions are being piloted at thousands of companies. AR is supplementing or replacing traditional manuals and training methods at an ever-faster pace.
Traditional pages on flat screens—have a major limitation – they require people to mentally translate 2-D information for use in a 3-D world.
That isn’t always easy, as anyone who has used a manual to assemble flat-pack furniture knows.
By superimposing digital information directly on real objects or environments, AR allows people to process the physical and digital simultaneously, eliminating the need to mentally bridge the two.
That improves our ability to rapidly and accurately absorb information, make decisions, and execute required tasks quickly and efficiently.
7. 5G Networks:
The demand to handle a varied stream of data from inter-connected devices at a quick speed makes the 5G network crucial to the advancements of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
The pandemic made it clear how important 5G is to enable the transformation to Industry 4.0 and created new demand for stable wireless networking.
Because every touchpoint in an operation is connected and digitized in Industry 4.0, there is an extra need for robust cybersecurity. Machinery, computer systems, data analytics, the cloud, and any other system connected via IoT should be protected.
We then go on to look at:
- The opportunities for exploiting these opportunities.
We have developed a diagnostic tool for prioritising how organisations can expoit the opportunities offered through utilising these technologies.
With so many technologies available, it can be difficult for companies to identify which ones will be right for their particular business: we try and help them prioritise what methods are best suited and to implement appropriate solutions.
- Wider societal implications.
We will also help the company to examine and plan to mitigate the broader human implications of these new developments, particularly their impact upon lower skill occupations within the workforce.