What is Industry 4.0?
After the previous three industrial revolutions - the steam engine, mass production and automation through computers - everyone is talking about Industry 4.0 as the digital revolution. Basically, the term was created as a marketing term and finds its origin in a high-tech industry project of the federal government in 2011, although the topic has found importance in the industry for a longer time. The fusion of digitization and manufacturing technology brings many advantages to the end customer, as there is the possibility to manufacture products individually for each customer. Digital and smart technologies automate and network all production processes. People, machines, products and entire plants communicate with each other and are in constant exchange.
Smart Factory - the heart of Industry 4.0
At the heart of Industry 4.0 is the so-called intelligent factory, the smart factory. The building blocks of a smart factory include intelligent machines, control systems and sensors. A large amount of data is produced, which subsequently has to be processed. For this purpose, every component and every product gets a chip built in. Traceability of the individual production stages is thus ensured.
Changing the world of work
Despite increasing digitization, people remain an elementary component in production operations. As a so-called "augmented operator", he controls and checks all sequences in the production process. In addition, the new communications technologies are reducing the proportion of routine tasks. Digitization may lead to increased job shifts, as more employee competencies will be required for upstream and downstream work processes in the future.
Benefits of Industry 4.0:
- New software and hardware ensures simplification of processes
- Transparent supply chain
- Simplification of ordering processes
- Big Data enables optimization of inventories
- Error prevention through automation of processes
- Efficiency and employee satisfaction can be increased
Disadvantages of Industry 4.0:
- The structure of Industry 4.0 can be very vulnerable
- Uncertainty due to high investment costs
- Lack of acceptance
- High expectations