Industry 4.0: the future of manufacturing in the digital age
26 July 2016
Industry 4.0 is the future of global manufacturing. It is the era of automation, of the digitalised factory and digitalised products – the fourth phase of industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0. Manufacturers across every sector, from pharmaceuticals and medical devices to machinery and food and beverage, need to respond rapidly to the changes this will herald, in order to remain relevant in the future. The era of smart manufacturing will change and enhance what is produced and so manufacturers need to change how they produce it to stay competitive.
What will Industry 4.0 look like? In this new era of manufacturing, everything will be Internet of Things-enabled and connected in the cloud. Machines will be more autonomous and will interact and communicate with each other in real time. Advanced technologies will manage Big Data and will facilitate this enhanced integration, not just between machines, but between every segment of a manufacturing enterprise from designers to engineers to shop floor technicians/operators and office staff.
Product lifecycle management (PLM) and manufacturing enterprise systems (MES) will become mission-critical technologies for Industry 4.0. These systems will manage every aspect of:
- The design process;
- Design validation;
- Quality planning;
- Manufacturing scheduling;
- Quality execution;
- Compliance management;
- Manufacturing intelligence;
- After market lifecycle.
Main characteristics of Industry 4.0
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and MES are the tools used to manage the transactional and manufacturing process in today’s automated world. Digitalised products and processes are, in turn, managed by robust PLM tools, capable of managing the data underpinning the product, the product manufacturing process and the product delivery or consumption process.
In this new environment, ERP and MES systems will be accessing smart data from the PLM system, enabling the manufacturer to design and build better products faster, and with a higher level of quality than ever before. ‘Mature systems’ lie at the heart of Industry 4.0. This maturity will be characterised by robust integration, digital control, data capture and data management.
Despite the fact that the majority of global manufacturers agree there is only one shape the future will take, and that is Industry 4.0, just 27 per cent of manufacturing industries feel sufficiently informed about this new era (according to ‘How Far Are We? Industry 4.0‘ from Hanover Messe, January 2015.) There has not yet been one agreed approach to preparing for the next phase of industrial revolution. What is clear, however, is that manufacturers do need to take steps now, such as adopting the necessary systems ERP, PLM and MES, and continue to build on these processes over the coming years, to ensure their participation in the digital era.
Pat McLoughlin is the Ireland & UK Sales Manager with Seabrook Technology Group. He has more than 25 years’ experience of supporting, implementing and using the advanced technology of PLM for enterprise manufacturers in the UK and Ireland.http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2016/07/26/industry-4-0-manufacturing-digital-age/http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Industry-4.0-1024x640.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Industry-4.0-300x300.jpgMechbig data,cloud,industry,internet of Things,manufacturing