The Internet of Things – What is Industry 4.0?

We’ve covered what is IoT, security and now onto manufacturing. The internet of things has not only affected consumers and developed new organizations. It has affected the manufacturing industry in a variety of ways. The industrial revolution started with steam machines, evolved to programmed (by humans) robotics and now stepping into fully automated machines. The IoT has truly opened the world of manufacturing to new levels.

There is a merging of plant manufacturing and software developers. The industrial internet of things has the potential to completely change the manufacturing processes that are used today. Full customization and mass customization is a possibility. With the power of the IoT, customization can become the standard as it will change processes to be more efficient.

The evolution of the manufacturing industry started with steam power, into assembly line manufacturing (think Henry Ford), then computer and robotics automation and into the newly coined term Industry 4.0 cyber-physical systems. Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things work hand in hand turning manufacturing plants into “smart factories” with cyber-physical systems making decisions based on what they learn and then communicating their findings with human counterparts via the internet.

Industrial Revolutions by Christoph Roser

The automotive industry has especially taken initiative in IIoT with advancements in robotics and programming. Soon factories will be able to assess the conditions of manufacturing and make decisions based on those assessments from repairing themselves to adjusting energy levels. Thanks to large cloud data storage, companies can make strives to converting to autonomous machines and even predicting maintenance tasks with the data that is collected. Machine learning is also a factor in IIoT, this is a crucial aspect to becoming automated. Machines can learn from data collected and make decisions with very little human intervention.

Segments such as automotive, transportation and logistics, aerospace and much more have begun to implement Industry 4.0 and IIoT using predictive maintenance. Advancements in technologies such as location-tracking services, radio frequency identification (RFID), laser scanning and voice recognition assist IIoT.

The increasing demand for highly custom and cost-efficient products is driving manufacturing into the Industry 4.0 and IIoT playing fields. Consumers want new products to make their lives easier but also affordable which means manufacturing must evolve to fulfill these demands. Hence, Industry 4.0 and IIoT. Continual investment in robotics, technologies, and networks are a top priority for organizations. It will also greatly benefit the companies in the long term. By providing an increase in a quality product at a lower price, operational flexibility, and being on the cutting edge of technology. While certain skill sets may no longer be needed, these new technologies open opportunities at a high level, the US Department of Commerce reported that manufacturing has added 945,000 jobs since March 2010.

The Internet of Things has truly brought the manufacturing world into the future and has paved a pathway for new ways of thinking. It is hopeful that more lives will be made easier with IoT and efficiency for the greater good will be even more so now than in the past at the forefront of manufacturing.

Catch up on other articles on IoT below!

The Internet of Things – What does it mean?

The Internet of Things – Are we Secure?

Cover photo by: Steve Jurvetson

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