Industry 4.0

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 brings in a new era of communication connectivity for manufacturing. From the front office to the plant floor production data can be easily seen and analyzed. Decisions that would normal have taken hours, and in some cases, days can be made in an instant. The supply chain of raw material requirements can be updated in minutes. Machines have become smart and can communicate with each other. Production assembly line rates can be adjusted up and down from one common point. Production materials can be replenished on the fly. Preventative maintenance becomes predictive maintenance.

Ultimately the plant floor could virtually operate without human involvement. All data of what is happening in the plant can be in the hands of any managers instantaneously through their computer, tablet and / or smart phones. Production can be built to order. Customer places an order and based on production could virtually be fill instantly.

The term Industry 4.0 was coined at the Hanover Messe 2011 and was included as an important component into the German government’s high-tech strategy. Years later Industry 4.0 has been adopted throughout the industrial world. The Industry 4.0 Platform is the central network for national and international activities concerning digital transformation.

The 4.0 represents the fourth stage of the industrial revolution that has taken place in manufacturing. The first stage of the Industrial revolution was the mechanization through water and steam. The second stage included the implementation of mass production and assembly lines using electricity. Industry 3.0, the third stage, was the integration of automation through PLC and computer technology. This opened the door to continued technology advancements thus ushering in Industry 4.0, the fourth stage of the industrial revolution with the introduction of smart machines and the Internet of Things IoT (data acquisition and transfer, communication from machine to machine and from the plant floor to the front office and back), IoT is the bridge that ties it all together.

Today you can find IoT in manufacturing, your home and your automobile. IoT is a collection of physical devices that contain embedded electrical, mechanical, computing and communication mechanisms that enable Internet based communication and data exchange.

Benefits at the Plant Floor:
There is a huge array of benefits to Industry 4.0.
But the primary benefits to the manufacturing floor are:

>Improved manufacturing efficiencies
>Improved product quality, less product failures in the field
>Better material optimization
>Increase production yield
>Real time equipment performance data
>Lower cost of manufacturing
>Improved procurement efficiencies
>Lowers overall maintenance costs

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