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What is the concept and pillars of Industry 4.0?

In this article, you will find an explanation of the pillars of Industry 4.0. Also, how this technology is revolutionizing companies.

Industry 4.0 (or Fourth Industrial Revolution) consists of a series of systems and technologies that together make the industry a more modern and more productive sector.

There are 9 pillars for Industry 4.0, and these are now part of people’s and companies’ lives.

By applying all that Industry 4.0 has to offer, companies are able to make their processes more automated and efficient, with data-based decision making, and using intelligent machines that perform various tasks.

If you are interested in understanding more about the pillars of Industry 4.0 and all the technology involved, in this article you will find the answers you are looking for.

The history of industrial revolutions before Industry 4.0

Understanding the history behind the industrial revolutions helps to understand how it was possible to get to the point where the industry is today.

First Industrial Revolution

In approximately 1765, the first industrial revolution took place in England, where the mechanization of industrial processes started to happen.

It was during this period that machines began to be part of the routine of industries to replace (and make more productive) human work.

In addition, the extraction of coal to make energy from steam started in this revolution, and as a consequence large-scale productions were made possible.

Second Industrial Revolution

The second industrial revolution took place in approximately 1870, when electricity and oil began to be used as a source of energy.

New types of industries were created in this period, such as the chemical and steel industries. Thus, technology began to be developed with the creation of automobiles, telephones, and radios.

Finally, the second industrial revolution marks the use of production organization models created by Taylor and Ford and studied until today.

Third Industrial Revolution

Around 1969, after the end of the Second World War, nuclear energy began to be used in society.

The main milestones of the third industrial revolution were the emergence of electronic equipment, computers, and telecommunications.

The creation of robots also began in this period, in addition to the creation of the Toyota Production System (TPS), widely studied and used in industries.

Fourth Industrial Revolution

After all this advancement in the industrial scenario, it’s time for Industry 4.0. This is characterized by the connection of production stages, in addition to the use of data to increase the productivity and efficiency of industries.

The main objective here is to reduce failures, increase profitability, and to have more sustainable businesses.

For this to happen, there are 9 essential pillars that must be put into practice in industries.

What are the pillars of Industry 4.0

Today, there are already fully integrated and automated industries, with little human interference in many industrial processes.

This is possible because these industries are putting in place 9 essential pillars of Industry 4.0.

The digital transformation that Industry 4.0 provides is very large, and it is revolutionizing companies.

Check out all the pillars below.

1) Big data

Big data consists of systems capable of organizing and analyzing data from different sources, thus being a technology that makes industries more automated.

With this data, it is possible to identify failures in processes, in addition to improving the quality of production.

As a result, more assertive decisions are made, which favors the industry’s agility and productivity.

2) Autonomous robots

Robots that previously only followed pre-established commands are now able to act intelligently and without human supervision.

This type of technology reduces costs with employees and increases production. Therefore, industries become more competitive.

3) Simulation

In Industry 4.0 it is possible to simulate any production process from real-world data.

These simulations can predict the performance of a product, which is a positive thing considering the competitiveness of industries today.

Besides that, simulation allows the failures that until then were very common, to be reduced.

4) Systems Integration

Industries today can be fully integrated through ERP, MES, and SAP systems.

Thus, it is possible to collect data from different departments in one place. This facilitates data sharing, analysis, and subsequent decision-making.

5) Internet of Things (IoT)

An industrial plant that applies the pillars of Industry 4.0 is connected through the internet. And it is through sensors that it becomes possible to connect machines so that other pillars are put into practice, such as Big Data and Systems Integration.

The Internet of Things is precisely this network of objects that are connected through the internet and technological solutions.

6) Cybersecurity

As Industry 4.0 is all about internet connection, it is essential that all data and systems are digitally protected.

Cybersecurity systems are capable of doing this, and if the company chooses not to hire this type of service, the risks of experiencing serious problems get higher.

These problems include invasion of the company’s systems by hackers and also failures that can lead to the loss of collected data.

7) Cloud Computing

You probably use cloud computing in your everyday life. An example is when you store files on digital systems like Google Drive. If you access your login on another device, you will still have access to everything in your Drive.

In industries, this type of technology is essential, after all, different departments and employees must be able to access the information available in real-time.

When cloud computing exists, it is possible for a process manager to have access to what is happening in the industrial plant, even when they cannot be present in the industry.

8) Additive Manufacturing (or 3D printing)

This is a pillar of Industry 4.0 that allows companies to produce spare parts in 3D models. Thus, it is possible to create customized products that are increasingly light and resistant.

9) Augmented Reality

When digital content is mixed with physical content, we have the Augmented Reality pillar in place. Since the beginning of Industry 4.0, this is one of the least developed pillars, but it is possible to use this technology to improve work procedures and manage machines.

A day-to-day example is the mobile game Pokémon Go, which places virtual characters in the real environment at home or on the street.

The Industry 5.0 movement

In addition to Industry 4.0, today there is also the Industry 5.0 movement. This technology is characterized by the union of machines and human beings in the production process.

The objective is to add value to production, and at the same time to develop customized products in line with customer expectations.

Do you want to know everything about Industry 5.0? Check out other articles about it in our blog!


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