Industry 4.0 – what is it?

Industry 4.0 – what is it?
Darrius Drew
Industry 4.0
It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

Industry development is one of the most important factors determining the future of the whole world, and the economy of all markets depends on its condition. Currently, the implementation of Industry 4.0 begins – what does it consist in?

Industrial revolution

The world has already gone through four industrial revolutions that pushed its development forward. Industry 1.0 was marked by the steam engine, which decisively streamlined production and distribution processes and gave birth to the era of industrialization. Industry 2.0 saw electrification, or the replacement of steam engines with electricity-powered ones. It is attributed, among other things, to a significant acceleration of all activities related to manufacturing. Industry 3.0 gave rise to digitalization and we are now at the end of it. In this cycle, the industry relies on the widespread use of computers and integrated circuits in every industrial process, which makes it possible to precisely manufacture the smallest products and seamlessly control a hundred different parameters or the ability to produce hundreds of thousands of products per hour. The continuous development of Industry 3.0 caused that nowadays most companies have solutions falling within its scope. But what is the upcoming Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 – basic facts and definitions

Industry 4.0 is a natural development of Industry 3.0 and its functionality is closely connected with it. It consists in complete integration of production machines with the outside world, which is supposed to enable extremely fast production works without the participation of staff or third parties. Advanced communication networks are supposed to integrate people and digitally controlled machines with the outside world by means of the Internet and particularly advanced information technologies. Such a solution offers many advantages, among which we can mention the precise identification of materials used for production or the option to communicate between individual parts of an entire production line. However, that is not all.

Industry 4.0 means also a smooth and undisturbed flow of information from the IT department to machines and from machines to the IT department, which ensures the possibility of precise control of machines by people who are in a completely different place. In turn, data transfer from devices to the IT department provides the possibility of current control of production processes and introducing any possible corrections “on the fly”.

Full automation of all production solutions

For many people Industry 4.0 is a notion like from a science-fiction novel, although in fact its implementation has already started for good. It can be seen, among others, in full computerization of the entire production process. Until recently, all activities related to the operation of machines were performed by engineers and manual implementation of corrections. Industry 4.0 is supposed to change this approach and allow especially advanced control algorithms and machines or even artificial intelligence AI with machine learning to make the most important decisions.

Advantages of Industry 4.0 – what will we feel the most?

Industry 4.0 has very many advantages that will be appreciated not only by entrepreneurs, but also by consumers and the entire supply chain. A huge advantage of this modern concept is, among other things, the full individualization of products oriented towards the customer, which allows an immediate response to their individual needs. This is because the adaptation of machines to their new operating conditions will be automatic and via the Internet or a local network, controlled remotely or by embedded computing units. Integration of multiple production systems will ensure easy management of dozens of product variants and their production.

Importantly, the entire production process can be controlled in a fully automated manner, without direct commands entered into the system by an employee. Devices, thanks to the control unit, will independently modify their settings and adjust them to current conditions on the basis of input/output data, e.g. the type of material, its structure, weight or temperature.

The fundamental principle of Industry 4.0 is to fully connect the virtual world with the real one and to implement intelligent production systems in which all components of production lines are closely connected with each other and can exchange information. This will ensure the fastest development of technology after Industry 3.0.

Main article photo: source: Designed by Freepik

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