From automation to autonomy, IoT is powering Industry 4.0

It’s one of the most bandied around terms in today’s internet age. And while the definition may not be clear to the average Joe, it figures in our life hugely. We are talking about the revolutionary Industry 4.0, simply put it is – automation and IoT. A vision of a smart factory where machines talk to each other backed by an exchange of data in manufacturing and powered by the ubiquitous Internet of Things (IoT). With Industry 4.0 or Industrie 4.0 (courtesy the Germans), the world has called in for a fourth industrial revolution making smart factories, wireless networks and sensory technology the recent trend setters.

What is Industry 4.0 or Industrie 4?

Industry 4.0 is an initiative started by the German Government in 2006, it has also been billed as “industry internet”. And it is not difficult to interpret why? Just like Germany, global superpower United States of America (USA) has been paying heed to the importance of IoT in the industries. Its non-profit organization, Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has been working on the future of manufacturing.

Industry 4.0 brings into play automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It brings together IoT and cloud computing, thereby creating a “smart factory”. The trend has definitely caught on. And not just Germany and USA, the vision of Industry 4.0 is gaining currency and has been well adopted across the globe with an aim to digitize the industries and increase the productivity and improve operational excellence. It is estimated that by 2020, German industry alone would have invested a total of €40 billion in Industry 4.0.

IoT—paving way for ‘smart factories’

While the technological components that make up the foundation of Industry 4.0 are many– robots, big data, augmented reality, cloud computing, cyber security, additive manufacturing, system integration etc., AIM explores how IoT is playing an important role in the fourth industrial revolution.

Intelligent connectivity of devices has made is easy for objects to communicate in a way like never before. Not just at an individual level, but manufacturing companies are keenly implementing this intelligent connectivity of smart devices in factories and shops. By combining the physical, virtual, IT and cyber-system worlds, manufacturers are aiming to transform into “smart factory operators”, who can manage highly automated, connected equipment and analyse data provided by the systems. In other words, it is set to create a new working environment of integrated productivity between worker and machine.

IoT has taken the manufacturing industry by storm

Talking about the smart factory operators, the entire concept of Industry 4.0 is about paving way for “Smart Factories”. Undoubtedly, IoT is at the fore, enabling the factories to be smart. IoT is affecting the way industries operate in more ways than one. Be it better decision making, increase in productivity or empowering people, the smart industries can deploy it all.

Not just these, the use of IoT in industries has been revolutionizing the manufacturing industries by enabling asset and material tracking, bringing improvements in the operations management, remote asset monitoring, network monitoring, remote diagnosis and predictive maintenance.

The application of IoT has not only automated and accelerated the process but has brought transparency and new opportunities for economic growth. Industry 4.0 goes beyond cost reduction.  The whole idea of a connected factory is to have a self-healing environment where resolutions happen in real time as the problems occurs, or even before the application of predictive analytics.

Indian Connection

Reportedly, India’s very own smart factory is underway at the reputed Indian Institute of Science’s (IISc) Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing (CPDM). The venture is backed by The Boeing Company.

In a Nutshell

When compared to the earlier industrial revolutions, Industry 4.0 is evolving at an exponential pace rather than a linear pace. A survey by ARC Advisory Group suggests that almost one-third of respondents are actively using IIoT tools or investing in projects that will soon be live.

IoT is disrupting almost every industry in the country- from production to governance and management. And it is very easy to conclude that there would be no fourth industrial revolution without Internet of Things. In fact, the very essence of smart factories is the smart connectivity that internet enables. Industry 4.0 is here to set new manufacturing standards and IoT stands backing it all the way!

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Srishti Deoras
Srishti Deoras

Srishti currently works as Content Strategist for Analytics India Magazine. When not covering the analytics news, editing and writing articles, she could be found reading or capturing thoughts into pictures.