Learn how Digitalization is changing the World in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
What is Industry 4.0?
The term "Industry 4.0" originated in 2011 from a project in the high-tech strategy of the German government, focusing on information and communication technology and promoting the computerization of manufacturing. The term "Industrie 4.0" (Industry 4.0 in German) was publicly introduced in the same year at the Hannover Fair. Then it became a public-private partnership for future manufacturing and included academic and industry luminaries.
Industry 4.0 provides a vision for how companies will thrive in 2030. In this vision, information and communication technologies such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will enable automated high-volume and high-variety quick response manufacturing. Materials, equipment, and products will communicate and coordinate with each other and humans in real-time. Using smart machines and materials to make smart products will result in smart factories that can coordinate through a value chain:
What is meant by Industrial Revolution 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution because it is the next step after the previous three Industrial Revolution stages: from water, steam power, and mass production to electronics and automation. We can summarize the four Industrial Revolutions as follows:
- The First Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) was characterized by the use of water power, steam power, mechanical tools, and the birth of factories. A key milestone of this revolution was in 1775 when James Watt and Matthew Boulton patented the Watt steam engine, the first global technology to increase productivity.
- The Second Industrial Revolution (1840-1914) was characterized by mass production, assembly lines, division of labor, and electrification. A key milestone of this revolution was in 1867 when Chicago’s meatpacking district, the Union Stock Yards, begins using the world’s first moving assembly line. Another important milestone was in 1913 when Henry Ford begins operating his moving assembly line at Ford Motor Company, reducing assembly time by almost 90 percent.
- The Third Industrial Revolution (1947-2010) was characterized by the introduction of IT systems. In this period, digital technology overtakes analog and mechanical technology. A key milestone of this revolution was in 1958 when Siemens receives the patent for SIMATIC, marking the beginning of automated production, and then in 1996 when the same company launched "Totally Integrated Automation", enabling interaction of all automation components.
- The Fourth Industrial Revolution (2010-present) is now. It is characterized by automated production, smart factories, the Internet of Things, and cyber-physical systems. After the launch in 2011 of the Industrie 4.0 initiative by the German Government, a key milestone of this revolution can be considered in 2015, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the Siemens Amberg digital enterprise factory, which has a 99.99885 percent perfection rate and where products control their own assembly and communicate requirements and production steps to the machines.
Digitalization in Manufacturing
Digitalization in Manufacturing is the essence of Industry 4.0. What does it mean?
Analysts are predicting that the next years of innovation, productivity, and business growth will be driven by the demand for mass customization and by the convergence of technology advances for next-generation manufacturing infrastructures. This is what they call “Smart Manufacturing”.
Smart manufacturing means bringing intelligence into all the aspects of the manufacturing process and encompasses what you have heard about the “Internet of Things (IoT),” the “Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT),” and “Industry 4.0.”
Smart manufacturing is the integration of intelligence in the actual machines, parts, materials, products, buildings, and supply chain, and the application of that intelligence within a connected, open end-to-end process and infrastructure. With Smart Manufacturing, data is the master, no longer the system.
What is Industry 4.0 Technology?
Technology is a key element in Industry 4.0, like in any other Industrial Revolution of the past. In Industry 4.0 the most important technology is software and the devices known ad the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which allow software applications to collect data and transform them into intelligence.
The core software in Industry 4.0 is the Manufacturing Execution System (MES), which is part of a platform called Manufacturing Operation Management (MOM). This platform encompasses many different applications, that we have summarized below.
Advanced product quality planning (APQP) is a formal and documented undertaking to ensure contractors build quality into the design of the program, product, and process. The formal steps of definition, verification, and validation are captured and reported on in software.
To create realistic and feasible schedules for each production plant, companies typically need software that considers the finite capacity of every line, machine, and resource, including the people, tooling, and materials, in generating a detailed schedule.
These functions – typically described as core MES – deliver visibility, track-and-trace, and full genealogy for production operations as they happen. These systems also dispatch materials and jobs, allocate resources, collect data, enforce process steps and operator certification, deliver work instructions, print labels, and enable paperless plant floors.
During manufacturing, these functions ensure acceptable quality levels (AQL) with statistical process control (SPC), nonconformance and event management, corrective and preventative actions (CAPAs), containment, incoming quality, sampling, and testing. They also include analytical functions to support root-cause analysis as well as lean and Six Sigma efforts.
Included are multilevel electronic signoffs, traceability, and process enforcement to ensure materials are handled according to standard operating procedures to satisfy regulatory and customer compliance. Detailed automatic records with signatures streamline regulatory reporting and audits.
Tracking equipment usage is typically inherent in MES, and in some systems, additional capabilities for preventive and corrective actions for keeping equipment up and running are included. In a broad definition of MOM, all of the maintenance activities such as materials and spares management may also be included.
Performance dashboards for overall plant key performance indicators (KPIs), as well as status and performance by line, operator, or product, deliver an enterprise view into the plant. Manufacturing audit trails, root-cause analysis, exception monitoring and alarming, and aggregation across multiple plants for enterprise views are all possible.
Industry 4.0 and the Digital Enterprise
Industry 4.0 cannot be adopted or implemented without radically rethinking all business methods and processes. In other words, without becoming a Digital Enterprise.
More data is being produced than ever before. Hidden in this digital gold mine are insights that will lead to the next great idea, insights into optimizing production operations, or even insights into how products and plants can be used for new business opportunities.
Smart factories with smarter, faster, and cheaper robots and additive manufacturing processes are disrupting and transforming the manufacturing industry. In this expanding global economy, these smart products and factories are connected through the Internet of Things (IoT) and drive the explosive growth of big data that increases the value of delivering the right data at the right time, making the right business decisions, and delivering the right level of personalization to the right consumer.
Manufacturers must rethink every aspect of their businesses and embrace digitalization. Only a fully digitalized business model with a consistent digital thread has the power and flexibility to speed up processes and optimize production operations.
Learn what Digital Enterprise means:
MOM will play a critical role in Industry 4.0
The essential role of MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) and MOM (Manufacturing Operation Management) in Industry 4.0. The innovator’s guide to manufacturing systems in future factories.
Software tools enabling Industry 4.0
Da oltre 10 anni lavora nel campo delle analisi computazionali FEM e CFD nei campi della biomeccanica, automotive e oil & gas. Esperto nel training, nell’assistenza tecnica di pre-vendita e di post-vendita per prodotti software CAE. In Cadlog ricopre il ruolo di Product Manager per i software della divisione di analisi termica e fluidodinamica (FloTHERM, FLOEFD, FloMASTER) e per il Cabling & Harness.
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