Industry 4.0 is already a reality. Even if there is some marketing fuss linked to the term, in practice, the so-called 4th Industrial Revolution is transforming industries.
This transformation is happening through technology and rapid adaptations. And to keep your industrial plant up to date, you need to be aware of the different factors involved in this new reality.
The fact is: it’s not easy to start using industry 4.0. And that is why in today’s article you will learn what are the 8 things you need to know about Industry 4.0.
1. The Industry 4.0 concept
Industry 4.0 is today a way of enabling industries to respond to consumer demands. At the same time, it is a way for industries to be protected from problems with logistics and suppliers.
This is because real-time data collected and analyzed by machines ensures better results, high productivity and elimination of unnecessary losses.
To have it all, industries can use the different industry 4.0 pillars. They are a way to make life easier for those managers who need to start somewhere but don’t know exactly where to start from.
As a result, managers become more empowered and have a broader view of their internal and external processes. With these new skills, decision making is much more accurate.
2. The term’s history
The term industry 4.0 emerged in 2010 as an initiative of the German government at the Hannover Fair in partnership with companies, universities and research centers in Germany.
The idea of the project was to create high-tech manufacturing industries to meet the demand for custom products through real-time data collection.
The big leap from the first three industrial revolutions to industry 4.0 is that the technologies we have today go far beyond what it used to be in the past. Everything is still under development and growing steadily, and there is no prediction of when it will end.
3. Industry 4.0 principles
There are some very important principles that characterize the 4.0 industry.
It is the ability to perform data collection instantly, and thus have enough information and knowledge to make the best decisions in real-time.
Thanks to sensors that are spread throughout the industry, it is possible to create virtual copies of smart factories. Thus remote tracking and monitoring of all processes is possible.
To make processes more productive, machines become responsible for decision making. This is possible because they can adjust as their sensors identify problems or better work options.
4. Service Orientation
Industry 4.0 software is solution-oriented, in a way as if they were service providers. What helps here is the fact that the entire company is connected to the network.
Industry 4.0 technology allows modules to be coupled and uncoupled as required by the factory, allowing more flexibility in task performance.
Finally, the system’s connection is real and allows this communication between machines, systems, and reports that will be evaluated by managers.
4. Industry 4.0 pillars
As mentioned above, industry 4.0 has 9 pillars for its operation. See the list below.
This pillar is a complete integration of the different departments, activities, and responsibilities that exist in an industry. For industry 4.0 to work, the entire supply chain must be connected. This includes everything from raw material purchasing to the logistics of final product delivery at the store or supermarket.
IoT (internet of things) is the connection of physical devices to a network. However, it is not simply a matter of internet access, but a constant connection that transmits high-quality information, security and speed among systems and devices.
3. Big Data
This is the term that refers to the giant amount of data we have today that is stored daily on a network. It is this data that enables machines to work more efficiently.
Systems and data are stored on specific servers that may be private or not. The big advantage is being able to access information from anywhere in the world as long as there is an internet connection.
One of the most innovative ways to use technology in industries today is with AI. This technology allows machines to learn human behavior and reasoning to make better decisions.
One of the biggest concerns for managers today is data security. After all, when all data and processes are available in an environment that can be hacked, all preventive measures must be taken.
Autonomous robots and collaborative robots are systems that act in conjunction with humans, assisting in manual tasks and usually with greater risk of accidents.
This pillar comes as a way to recreate a physical situation in the virtual environment for testing. Unlike the traditional production processes, with simulations, there is no waste of time or waste of raw materials.
Augmented reality systems are very useful and can make everyday life easier for different industries. One example is the maintenance department, which can obtain specific guidance from outside suppliers, in real-time and with the ability to view damaged parts.
5. Industry 4.0 applications
While some companies are still struggling to implement industry 4.0, others are already achieving great results and being ahead of competition.
In Brazil, Embraer conducts virtual 3D training for workers. Thus, the company can identify defects that would only be observed with the aircraft in operation. The results are very positive, and the assembly time of the aircraft fell by 25%.
A second, though controversial, case happens to the beverage producers Ambev, Heineken and Coke. The idea is for a production monitoring system to be used to decrease the number of tax fraud. However, the companies do not agree that this is the best way to conduct this type of work.
And another company that was successful in digital transformation was Audi, a company in the automotive segment. In its production line there are no human workers, but autonomous processes through technology and robots.
Thus, industry 4.0 applications are very broad. Opportunities can be identified, logistics and supply chain optimized, autonomous equipment and robots developed, and high connectivity across all systems.
6. The Brazilian reality
According to the Brazilian Agency for Industrial Development (ABDI), in data presented in 2018, only 2% of Brazilian companies use industry 4.0 in their factories.
Therefore, industry 4.0 is still starting to be used in the country. However, ABDI also pointed out that when all industry sectors finally migrate to industry 4.0, there will be a R$73 billion reduction in costs for industries.
Because of that, managers must keep up to date and always seeking to use the technologies available in the market.
Only like that, it will be possible to remain competitive in the market in which they operate. In any case, ABDI estimates that 15% of manufacturing companies will have industry 4.0 incorporated within the next 10 years.
7. Labor market
Along with the development of industry 4.0, a new professional with more skills and abilities is needed in factories.
After all, robots tend to replace humans in various types of work. And the promise is that they will fulfill these roles much faster and more efficiently.
However, new professions always emerge, and the most skilled professionals will continue to have opportunities.
Besides, one of the key skills of professionals today must be flexibility. Therefore, to succeed in this new scenario, one must be able to adapt to the new types of work, and different jobs they will have during their lifetime.
Among the key skills valued are:
Undergraduate degrees in areas such as engineering or computer science, directly related to information technology, are good strategies to stay in the labor market.
Professionals today need to understand a variety of subjects. In this way, they can adapt and identify new opportunities as they arise during their working life.
Because the entire world is connected via the internet, professionals should have no problem keeping their communication with people from other countries. Also, many rich materials for study and career development will be available in English.
To stand out, the professional also needs to be able to critically analyze and cross information from data and information received mainly from machines. And it is important to do this work quickly and in real-time.
8. Industry 4.0 challenges
There is no doubt that industry 4.0 is positive for businesses. However, like any revolution, some challenges need to be overcome to make everything work as smoothly as possible.
Just as one of the pillars of industry 4.0 is cybersecurity, one of the challenges is cyber attacks. To solve this problem, you must always have high-quality security working and protecting your industry.
Another pillar of the 4.0 industry, AI has been used to manipulate images and even videos. Therefore, it must be used strategically and always well organized. Thus, AI-related problems will have less power when compared to the benefits gained.
Make the necessary changes
Organization and agility in processes is not common in Brazilian companies. So this is a big challenge in the industry 4.0 implementation. Managers and employees generally need to work together to find solutions and be able to perform the changes they need.
Lack of resources
The difficulty of finding qualified human resources is big, and professionals play an important role here as well. Added to that, you also need to approve projects for financial resources and time for industry 4.0 adaptations to happen.
Thus, industry 4.0 implementation projects need to be very clear and those responsible need to convince top management of the advantages to be achieved. One might show short, medium and long term results to justify investments.
In this article, you have understood the 8 most important things to know about the 4.0 industry.
An industrial revolution like this is quite complex, but with a structured adaptation project, following the pillars and principles, it is possible to survive in this new environment.
Do you already apply any of the pillars of industry 4.0? Would you like to share your experience on industrial applications or industry challenges? Leave your comment below.