Industry 4.0: Are you ready?
Industry 4.0 can seem daunting. To make it easier to understand, this infographic breaks it down and describes it in simple terms.
Industry 4.0 is “digitalised industry”. It’s where machines interact and respond intelligently to their surrounding physical environment, bringing together the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), artificial intelligence and data science.
So how do we get the name “Industry 4.0”? Industry 4.0 is also known as the “fourth industrial revolution”. The first three industrial phases were mechanisation (think steam power), then electrical (raw materials and technology) and thirdly, computerisation (powered by fossil fuels).
In Industry 4.0, factories are “smart”. All equipment is interconnected, which allows it to access and use centralised and operational data. Factories often have a diverse range of automated manufacturing processes and equipment. These systems must be able to connect and communicate with an overarching, plant-wide control system, so that everything speaks the same language. This interoperability comes about through the electronic communication and management of data through the IIoT. It’s not uncommon to have orphaned equipment – particularly in the packaging side – and integration can often be a simple upgrade.
Industry 4.0 is about “mass customisation” rather than mass production. That means instead of producing thousands of the same product, manufacturers can use data to customise products and make batches of one. The food industry is in a perfect position to use this “mass customisation”, as it allows people to select ingredients to create customised products, such as individual museli recipes.
Two of the great beenfits of Industry 4.0 are the ability to gain deeper insights into both your customers’ needs and your own operations.
So what do Australian manufacturers need to do to get ready for Industry 4.0? Here’s a quick run-down:
- Establish Industry 4.0 in your company’s strategy.
- Begin to introduce digital integration and automated production, to make your factory “smart”.
- Next step is to make your processes are smart.
- Followed by your products: can your products communicate with interact with systems along with value supply chain?
- Data: think about what data you want and what you can actually do with it.
- Skilled staff: do your staff have data science skills? What other skills do you need to bring into your business?
- Do you know what technologies and improvements your competitors are making?
So where are we?
Having looked at what Industry 4.0 is, and steps to implementing it, here is where Australian industry is regarding the fourth industrial revolution:
- Plans to embrace it: by 2020, 69% of Asia Pacific companies plan to be advanced in their digitisation, with up to half of businesses planning to upgrade equipment to enable a smart factory in the next decade.
- Big benefits: more than one-third of industrial businesses anticipate a 20% increase in revenue, with 68% expecting over 20% efficiency gains in the next five years.
- It’s not cheap: the investment needed is 7-9% of revenue.
- Skills challenge: nearly half Asia Pacific industrial companies see