“Industry 4.0 , “The Internet of Things” and “Smart Factory” are all the current buzz words in today’s manufacturing world. But what are they and how can businesses benefit from them?
Industry 4.0 is a model for creating automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. At its core, it is driven by bringing information, which would otherwise have been disconnected and separated, into a cyber environment where knowledge and insight are the champions!
A Smart factory is one which uses tools that can communicate with one another, to deliver not only output data, but also vast amounts of other valuable information that assists employees in performing their daily tasks.
Industry 4.0 is generally regarded as the 4th Industrial Revolution. However, by nature and definition, it will always be constantly evolving and changing as technology and new software applications are developed.
The main elements of Industry 4.0 are:
The ability for machines, devices, sensors and people to connect and communicate easily with one another; usually via Internet of Things.
The transparency of information where raw sensor data is collected, aggregated and analysed; effectively creating more meaningful information that mirrors the physical environment.
Technology and Information Systems which assist and support humans by presenting visual and valuable information to facilitate informed decision-making and urgent problem-solving. These systems should be able to complete tasks that would otherwise cause fatigue or pose a health threat to humans.
Certain actions, tasks and decisions are performed automatically by applications and software, with tasks being escalated for human intervention when conflicts, exceptions or intrusions are detected.
In an ever-demanding manufacturing world, there has never been a better time for manufacturers to become part of the Industry 4.0 movement. Not only will it give manufacturers greater levels of accountability and traceability, but also facilitate improved throughput while decreasing quality losses.
With this being said, it is crucial that when manufacturers start the journey to becoming a Smart Factory, they invest in software and tools which are developed and supported by vendors who understand their needs.
HaldanMES is already moving towards facilitating Smart Manufacturing with its Checklist Module.
In addition, we are currently developing a version of the software which will store data in the cloud and will be able to collect data from any device in a meaningful and collaborative way. This means that the future of HaldanMES will harness the power of data-on-demand.