Is Industry 4.0 relevant only for shop floors with high automation levels ?
For some reason, Industry 4.0 is always mentioned in the same breath as Robotics, Additive manufacturing, Virtual Reality, Augmented reality.
So what does this mean ? Is Industry 4.0 not for me if I do not use any of these ?
Absolutely NOT !
Industry 4.0 is merely a system that connects your computer network to your machines. It gets data from the machines accurately and instantly, and converts the data to information that you use to improve your business efficiency. In Industry 4.0, data from the machine is sent directly to your organization’s computer network or to the cloud, over the internet. It is analyzed by software immediately, available to people as reports or alerts, and available to other software on the cloud for doing other things.
When you can get information from machines, you use it to improve your operational efficiency and profits. You can reduce machine downtime, improve capacity utilization, improve quality, cut lead times, improve on-time delivery. Or machines and computers can also talk to each other and control themselves if decisions are simple, without involving you.
In any manufacturing organization, machines make the money. To run them efficiently and maximize profits, we need to talk to them directly. We however talk to our machines via a human chain, get inaccurate data that is usually too late to take any action.
It does not matter what machines you use, how much automation you have, what you are producing, or how big your organization is.
Industry 4.0 gets you talking directly to the things that make your money, the machines.