What is Industry 4.0?
If you are involved in any sort of manufacturing and/or facility management today, you are probably aware that we are undergoing a major transformation in the way we produce products and manage systems. This has come about because of the “digitization of manufacturing” – that is, as more computers connect and communicate with each other they will not only “talk to each other”, but eventually make decisions without any human interaction. This movement is so compelling that it has been called Industry 4.0.
To get a bit of insight into this 4th movement in the industrial revolution, let us look at where we have come from:
- The first stage of the Industrial Revolution, or Industry 1.0, took place around 1784 with the advent of the steam engine.
- That was followed almost 100 years later in the late 1800s by the development of mass production and use of electricity to power machinery…Industry 2.0.
- Industry 3.0 occurred in the 1970s with the introduction of electronics, IT systems and automation in industry – the dawn of the computer age. And again, almost 100 years after 2.0.
- But now, about 50 years later, we have Industry 4.0 which introduces cyber-physical systems that are transforming the way manufacturing will take place moving forward into the future. This fourth industrial revolution will take what was begun in 3.0 and enhance it with smart and autonomous systems powered by big data and robotics all working together in intelligent factories.
Looking towards the future – and already happening in large operations today – Industry 4.0 is having a huge impact in manufacturing. In a nutshell, these ‘smart machines’ that are digitally networked and communicating with one another, will share information and data that will result in the full power of Industry 4.0. As these smart machines get smarter, and as they are able to access more and more information over time, manufacturing plants and other large commercial and industrial facilities will be more efficient, less wasteful and see better profitability.
Industry 4.0 is based on 9 Pillars
To understand this concept even further, Industry 4.0 is based on the merging of the physical (machines) and digital (data) resources, networking systems in order to produce higher quality products at a lower cost. This is based on the 9 Pillars of Industry 4.0:
- Big data and data analytics: The ability to quickly and accurately evaluate and analyze huge amounts of data will help to increase production, save energy, and improve service offerings.
- Simulation: 3D models will be able to simulate product development and production processes, thus reducing machinery set-up time and improving production time.
- Horizontal and vertical system integration: As Industry 4.0 becomes more prevalent, all information systems will become fully integrated and companies will be connected to their suppliers and customers, saving time, energy and money.
- The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). More smart machines will have interconnectivity and the ability to drive more efficient production, better and faster analytics, and therefore transform the workplace of the future.
- Cybersecurity: As more companies and institutions become connected, protecting information systems and manufacturing plants from cyber-criminals presents serious challenges. Sophisticated technical systems will be used to offer security, prevent machine malfunctions, and provide reliable reporting.
- The Cloud: Many companies are already using cloud-based applications, however in Industry 4.0 there will be a greater need for the exchange of data for production and management control.
- Autonomous systems/robotics. For some time now, factories around the world have been utilizing robots to implement certain types of complex operations. This technology will continue to become more sophisticated and interdependent so that more robots will interact with each other as well as humans. Eventually robots will be able to acquire information and operate on their own – the true future of AI.
- Additive manufacturing/3D printing. Companies are already using 3D printing technology for prototyping and small run production. These technologies, which offer high performance for small batches and customized products, will help control inventory management costs, save on material waste, and will use less energy.
- Augmented reality. Augmented-reality (AR) tools are still in their infancy for most manufacturing and industrial usage, but they are rapidly gaining favor. AR includes displays of digital content in real time through a device, such as a mobile phone.
What is Energy Efficiency in An Industry 4.0 Environment?
Energy costs are a major contributing factor to production and logistics expenditure, profitability, and competitiveness in the marketplace. There is increasing environmental awareness, requirements and objectives towards more sustainable products and output. The choices a company makes about its energy efficiency and consumption can profoundly impact it cost structure.
So here are some questions you should be asking:
- How much energy does our company use?
- What does this energy cost us?
- Which systems are efficient, lean, and which are wasteful of power or resources?
- What impact does this spending have on key financial indicators such as cost of goods sold and overall profitability?
- Is our equipment running as efficiently as it can?
- How often do we need to replace equipment?
- How often does our process or production get interrupted by faulty equipment, power usage problems, or data challenges?
How is all of this important to your business?
If you could ensure that all of the systems in your manufacturing plant, refrigerated warehouse, storage facility, or high-rise building, are running as efficiently as possible, think about the positive impact that could have across the board – environmentally, socially, financially.
Here are some areas that we can help you discern and make recommendations for you to become a smarter, more efficient organization:
- Lower energy and utility costs
- Conserve resources and reduce carbon footprint
- Smooth power and resource demand
- Expand capacity through existing infrastructure
- Operate cooler and extend equipment life
- Decrease maintenance/repair time and cost
- Improve fuel economy
Today, as we move through Industry 4.0, energy efficiency, power reliability, and resource consumption are some of the most important factors in competitiveness and market demand because these are associated with industrial strategies based on lower energy costs and innovation.
Call us at (603) 275-7238 to have a no-obligation conversation about your facility and operations.
Energy LB Resources will evaluate your energy use by uncovering ways to optimize consumption and yield of power and resources that will increase productivity. We then design and deploy engineered solutions that will save on equipment maintenance costs, impact positively on the environment, and save money, while offering an attractive ROI
on your capital investment.