Industry 4.0 and its main characteristics


Gamco Team

Industry 4.0 or Fourth Industrial Revolution is based on the integration of digital technologies in the production and processing of goods and services.. This allows for greater flexibility in production and greater product customization. We will discover its main features in the following section.

Each industrial revolution has brought with it a series of changes in the way we see and understand the world. Since 1800, we have experienced three industrial revolutions.

The First Industrial Revolution took place at the end of the 18th century with the introduction of steam engine mechanics.

The Second Industrial Revolution took place at the end of the 19th century with mass production based on electricity. The innovation of the assembly line was also conceived. This caused the industrial sector to experience an extraordinary acceleration.

The middle of the 20th century saw the Third Industrial Revolution, in which the first computerized processes for programming machines were implemented. This led to the progressive automation and computerization of many sectors until it resulted in Industry 4.0 or Fourth Industrial Revolutionwhich emerged at the end of the 2000s in Germany.. With Industry 4.0, the first smart factories are appearing, where online production management is of key importance.

The concept of Industry 4.0 was explained by its creator, Henrik Von Scheel, as follows: "The fourth industrial revolution is the confluence of three worlds: the physical, the digital and the industrial. It changes our economy, it changes the way we interact and how we consume products." 

Industry 4.0 has the potential to transform the way we produce and consume, and can lead to greater efficiency and productivity in industry. However, it also poses challenges, such as the need for continuous training for workers and concerns about the security and privacy of data collected and used in production.

► You may also be interested in: What is Industry 4.0

This new stage of the industry focuses on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning and real-time data analysis. In addition, it also involves a complete transformation of the manufacturing and production systems that have traditionally been used.

The four fundamental pillars on which the Fourth Industrial Revolution rests are as follows:

  1. Connectivity (cloud services, blockchain, sensors, etc.).
  2. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (Big Data, automation, etc.).
  3. Human-machine interaction (virtual and augmented reality, robotics, chatbots).
  4. Advanced engineering (additive manufacturing, 3D printing, renewable energies and nanoparticles).

Characteristics of Industry 4.0 in companies

One of the main advantages of Industry 4.0 is that technology helps companies become more efficient and productive. In addition, it can help companies reduce their environmental impact by streamlining their operations and reducing waste.

Below, we will list some of the main advantages of applying Industry 4.0 technologies through digitization and the use of connected platforms in companies.

  • Improves productivity, efficiency and quality of processes through Big Data analysis because companies can gain insight into their processes and identify ways to improve them, explore new business models or reduce costs.
  • Automates tasks so that employees can focus on more creative tasks.
  • Use of advanced machinery or robots to optimize production by performing repetitive tasks on assembly and production lines.
  • The digitization of processes enables accurate tracking of the status of a product or service in real time.
  • Enables the customized product development that meet customer needs in the face of competition, as well as constant adaptation to demand.
  • Provides a personalized after-sales service for each customer.
  • Improving energy efficiency in industrial production and reduction of environmental impact.
  • The automation and technology allow for more efficient production with fewer errors.

In summary, flexibility, cost, efficiency, quality and competitive advantage are the key benefits of Industry 4.0 adoption by companies.

Disadvantages of Industry 4.0 in companies.

Going for total interconnectivity in a company also entails risks. For example, in the event of a cyber-attack, all connected equipment and software could be affected. In addition, the investment required to implement these technologies in small and medium-sized companies is still very expensive in many countries.

Below, we will list some of the main disadvantages of applying Industry 4.0 technologies through digitization and the use of connected platforms in companies.

  • The the dizzying speed at which certain technologies evolve requires a high capacity on the part of companies to adapt and keep pace.
  • The cyber risks which require increasing investment in cybersecurity.
  • The high technological dependence This means that in the event of a network outage, a company can find itself in serious difficulties.
  • The shortage of qualified personnel to manage the digital tools available, although it is only a matter of time before new professions emerge to fill the most in-demand jobs.

And after Industry 4.0, will there be an Industry 5.0?

While Industry 4.0 is driven by the value of technology as a systems integrator, Industry 5.0 will be stimulated by the value of business to achieve societal goals and provide the keys to a transition to a sustainable, human-centered and resilient industry.

In conclusion, we should bear in mind that Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution represents a major change in the way companies' products and services are designed, manufactured and marketed in an increasingly competitive environment where data and the ability to process it are key.

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