From Steam Power to the Internet of Things – Industry 4.0

The 1st industrial revolution brought mechanization, the 2nd led to development of the assembly line and mass production, the 3rd encompassed digitization, and now the networking of real and virtual worlds is gradually becoming the Internet of Things (“IoT”). One talks about this as the 4th industrial revolution or Industrie 4.0 (Industry 4.0), with the enormous potential to decisively transform manufacturing processes and business models.

What is Industry 4.0?

The term Industrie 4.0 (Industry 4.0) was coined under a collaborative initiative of the German Federal Department of Education and Research (BMBF) and the industry, and is used for scientific communications. This describes the industrial utilization of the IoT to create networked, automated factories and value chains beyond the limits of an enterprise. Industrial manufacturing is intertwined with the most advanced information and communication technologies – resulting in the creation of a smart factory.

 

Industry 4.0 – A Futuristic Project by the German Government …

Industry 4.0 is not just a challenge faced by the industry, it is also the German government’s futuristic project. BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education & Research) and BMWI (Federal Ministry of Economics & Technology) are working out a joint high-tech strategy to address this core social and political task. The aim is to embed Germany as one of the future leaders of the international manufacturing sector.

 

…and Industry

Accordingly, in 2013 the German business associations BITKOM (digital association), VDMA (mechanical engineering industry association), and ZVEI (electrical & electronics industry association) set up Industry 4.0 – a collaborative platform to develop and implement this futuristic project of high relevance to big corporations and SMEs alike.

Many German enterprises, particularly manufacturers, invest in innovative technologies like automated machines, and use consultants. As the experts in BI and big data analytics at b.telligent, we offer a range of consulting services and implementation recommendations that empower you to join the Industry 4.0 revolution and make your enterprise a success.

 

Challenges of Industry 4.0 – Opportunities and Risks

Industry 4.0 encompasses a multiplicity of facets that play a critical role and require action. These include R&D, standards/norms, and security. Increasing digitization and industrial networking are giving rise to ever more interfaces between relevant actors – with a growing need for common standards/norms among diverse industrial sectors.

Beyond standardization, data privacy and the security of your enterprise’s in-house networks (security by design) embrace the biggest challenges in implementing Industry 4.0 strategies, because fully networked manufacturing has to be secured against cyberattacks. From a data privacy perspective, the key question is the sensitivity of your data. Are we talking about personal information (privacy by design)? On the other hand, does your strategy involve a private, hybrid, or public cloud solution?

A smart Factory has numerous Advantages

  1. Flexibility and customization: a smart factory comprises intelligent value chains that enable faster and focused integration of specific customer requirements or market developments into each life phase of a product – i.e. from development to manufacturing, utilization, maintenance, and recycling.
  2. Predictive maintenance: a smart factory recognizes wear and tear and identifies problems with machines before they lead to downtime. Relevant systems thus initiate just-in-time maintenance or repairs and assist in taking appropriate actions, before the problem becomes acute. For instance, a smart factory can order parts and issue repair orders; yet, modern processes like data science and machine learning remain vital.
  3. Lower manufacturing costs: networking your enterprise empowers you to not just optimize specific production steps, but the entire value chain. Real time access to information allows you to control manufacturing processes outside of your enterprise, while conserving energy and resources. Consequently, manufacturing in a smart factory is consistent with the principles of lean management.

Many sectors other than a smart factory will also utilize digitized information to hop on the bandwagon of revolutionary changes. Below are a few examples:

Internet of Things as the Foundation of Industry 4.0

More than just humans use the Internet as a means of communication. The IoT also interconnects machines and products in our daily lives – providing a form of constant communication among machines that serves as the foundation of the fourth industrial revolution.

 

Interfaces Between Digital and Real Worlds

Cyber-physical systems (CPS) define the technological basis for combining IT (informatics, software components) and the physical world (mechanical and electronic elements). Through the IoT, CPS enables data and processes to be fully captured, analyzed, and optimized in real time. The result is (almost) complete automation of decision processes.

 

The Smart Factory – Intelligent and Decentralized

Plants are developing into smart factories though the use of networked, intelligent machines, robots, products, and materials. Interoperable machines and subsystems apply appropriate data analysis to self-direct manufacturing processes.

New Lines of Business and Business Models (Service over Product)

Digital transformation of the economy and industry will alter both value-chain processes and entire business models. Value addition achieved through customization, interaction, and hybridization will drive enterprises to develop new business concepts tailored to meet more of their customer needs. Emphasis will be on XaaS (anything as a service), a field in which Microsoft is already offering scalable, highly flexible, and intelligent applications like Azure cloud services and machine learning.  

Newly acquired data will give birth to new concepts that benefit from application of the information collected. For instance, Google is already taking advantage of the situation by applying intelligent data analytics to devise new business models.

 

Analytical Forecasts over Traditional Planning

Moreover, the fourth industrial revolution also affects key financial control processes like forecasts, sales planning, and strategic planning. New technologies are helping optimize business models.

 

Optimizing the Supply Chain

Supply and manufacturing processes that are successful and ready for the future start off by dealing with aspects of Industry 4.0, and finish with effective execution of relevant measures to network processes, acquire data, and perform intelligent evaluations.

Rely on our consultants at b.telligent to analyze business processes and undertake enhancement and optimization measures. We identify the relevant data, and conduct automated processing and analysis to deliver information that you can utilize. In essence, we apply intelligent analyses to transform pure data into fully integrated elements of a value chain.

Master the Fourth Industrial Revolution with b.telligent

Bank on b.telligent’s experienced consulting capabilities and competencies within the scope of BI – to collect, input, save data, set up data stream analyses, present the data, and prepare these for pertinent decision-making. Furthermore, we assist your enterprise in implementing recommendations and solutions of value – as digitization continues to advance.


Sebastian Amtage

Kontakt

Sebastian Amtage
Managing Director
DE +49 (89) 122 281 110
CH +41 (44) 585 39 80
marketing@remove-this.btelligent.com