The first industrial revolution started with the development steam engine. It took place from the 1760’s until the 1840’s and included going from hand production to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron processes, increase of the usage of steam power, the development of machine tools and the rise of factory systems.
The next steps were Industry 2.0 with the introduction of the production line, technological electrification, mass production and the start of globalisation.
Industry 3.0 brought us the internet, digital manufacturing and the moves towards automation and robots.
With Industry 4.0, the next step of the industrial revolution is now knocking on our doors. But what is the hype all about?
Smart Factory, Cyber physical Systems, Internet of Things… what is all of that and what does it mean for you? Forbes magazine provides an overview in its article (https://tinyurl.com/yarrmqat) from the 20. June 2016 ‘What Everyone Must Know About Industry 4.0’ but as for a quick snapshot Industry 4.0 must include a few critical components.
For a factory or system to be considered Industry 4.0, it must include:
- Interoperability — machines, devices, sensors and people that connect and communicate with one another.
- Information transparency — the systems create a virtual copy of the physical world through sensor data in order to contextualise information.
- Technical assistance — both the ability of the systems to support humans in making decisions and solving problems and the ability to assist humans with tasks that are too difficult or unsafe for humans.
- Decentralised decision-making — the ability of cyber-physical systems to make simple decisions on their own and become as autonomous as possible.
With every opportunity there are challenges and the Forbes magazine outlines them in its article. One of the challenges coming along is the lack of experience and manpower to create and implement these systems.
To support customers on this journey, Amada has taken the next step and joined the Industrial 4.0 movement. Amada V-Factory supports systems like the visualisation of factory production. Machine and job status, create or adjust schedules to guarantee in time delivery and match actual production are just some of the capabilities that V-Factory provides, and all available on your mobile device so the information is never more than a fingertip away.
Furthermore, with V-Factory your machines will be monitored with the aim to reduce down time or if necessary have scheduled down time. Things like parts shipping and onsite services can be organised before down time occurs.
The question, then, is not if Industry 4.0 is coming, but how quickly? As with big data and other business trends, early adopters will be rewarded for their courage jumping into this new technology, and those who avoid change risk becoming irrelevant and left behind.
For more information around Amada’s V-Factory, go and see AM PROM at EMEX 2018, where Am Prom will be presenting this, and more.