Industry 4.0 is a name given to the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing and cognitive computing. Industry 4.0 is commonly referred to as the fourth industrial revolution. (Wikipedia).
Industry 4.0 fosters what has been called a “smart factory”. Within modular structured smart factories, cyber-physical systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralized decisions. Over the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems communicate and cooperate with each other and with humans in real-time both internally and across organizational services offered and used by participants of the value chain.
There are four design principles in Industry 4.0. These principles support companies in identifying and implementing Industry 4.0 scenarios.
- Interconnection: The ability of machines, devices, sensors, and people to connect and communicate with each other via the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of People (IoP)
- Information transparency: The transparency afforded by Industry 4.0 technology provides operators with vast amounts of useful information needed to make appropriate decisions. Interconnectivity allows operators to collect immense amounts of data and information from all points in the manufacturing process, thus aiding functionality and identifying key areas that can benefit from innovation and improvement.
- Technical assistance: First, the ability of assistance systems to support humans by aggregating and visualizing information comprehensively for making informed decisions and solving urgent problems on short notice. Second, the ability of cyber physical systems to physically support humans by conducting a range of tasks that are unpleasant, too exhausting, or unsafe for their human co-workers.
- Decentralized decisions: The ability of cyber physical systems to make decisions on their own and to perform their tasks as autonomously as possible. Only in the case of exceptions, interferences, or conflicting goals, are tasks delegated to a higher level.
Impact of Industry 4.0
Proponents of the term claim Industry 4.0 will affect many areas, most notably:
- Services and business models
- Reliability and continuous productivity
- IT security: Companies like Symantec, Cisco, and Penta Security have already begun to address the issue of IoT security
- Machine safety
- Manufacturing Sales: Companies like LogicBay Corporation have released multiple resources addressing Industry 4.0 in the manufacturing sales channel.
- Product lifecycles
- Industry value chain
- Workers’ education and skills
- Socio-economic factors
- Industry Demonstration: To help industry understand the impact of Industry 4.0, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, signed a proclamation to state “Cincinnati to be Industry 4.0 Demonstration City”.
- An article published in February 2016 suggests that Industry 4.0 may have a beneficial effects for emerging economies such as India.