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Industry 4.0 is the name given to the fourth industrial revolution characterized by the inclusion of advanced technologies in production processes. These technologies include automation, robotics, the internet of things and artificial intelligence. The main objective of implementing these technologies is to improve the efficiency, flexibility and competitiveness of companies.
Some of the key Industry 4.0 technologies that companies are beginning to integrate into both their facilities and processes include the internet of things (IoT), cloud services, Big Data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, as well as advanced robotics.
The digital technologies that drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution have been successfully applied for several years in some sectors such as medicine, the shipping industry or agriculture, as they allow access to information (relevant or not) to make decisions more quickly and efficiently, applying solutions based on the appropriate processing of the value of the data. Industry 4.0 is characterized by being user/customer-centric, as it responds to an architecture designed for continuous feedback between the company and the user/customer.
Therefore, organizations must identify the technologies that best meet their needs and seek professionals and technicians with skills linked to digital technologies in order not to fall behind in the market.
► You may also be interested in: What is Industry 4.0
The dizzying pace at which the technologies associated with Industry 4.0 are developing makes it necessary to define their main characteristics. The following is a summary of the main characteristics and challenges that Industry 4.0 is currently providing to companies.
This allows companies to simplify processes, boost efficiency, improve product quality and speed up delivery times in an increasingly demanding market where immediacy is the order of the day.
Companies can use the new technologies available to remotely monitor both their processes and their assets. So-called "smart factories" install sensors and other devices on equipment to assess the status of each production process, tracking anomalies in real time and analyzing possible improvements or business opportunities. This allows for greater transparency and safety in production.
Thanks to the analysis tools of the Big DataThe collection, analysis and management of the big data that a company generates and/or receives is done instantly. In this way, any changes that may be necessary are made on the basis of accurate information that facilitates the optimization, monitoring and control of processes to make them more effective. Data analytics therefore requires intelligent and responsible management by companies.
Through artificial intelligence and machine learning, data can be analyzed in real time to take advantage of strategic information that allows, among other actions:
The increasing digitization of companies is enabling cyber-physical systems to make autonomous decisions about their own operation and send real-time notification to the network whenever this occurs.
3D and 4D technology allows for greater flexibility in production. Customized prototypes can be made on demand, as well as short product runs, which translates into a greater ability to adapt to market changes. Additive manufacturing also means a change in the way production operations are carried out. From traditional mass production to flexible production focused on customization. Faster and more efficient production results in a significant improvement in the competitiveness of companies.
Industry 4.0 involves the creation of highly interconnected and highly automated production systems. This enables greater collaboration and flexibility in production. In short, it is about connecting all components of the company together, from cyber-physical systems to personnel. Closely related to interoperability, we must not forget that greater collaboration and interconnection between companies in different sectors will lead to more efficient production and improved product quality.
The digital transformation initiated with Industry 4.0 would not be possible without cloud computing services, as they are the basis for most advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence. The tools developed in the cloud are enabling companies to have the means to innovate. Communication and coordination between the different systems of a company are increasingly supported by cloud computing.
Improving energy efficiency in a company involves substantial changes in its own production system, starting with optimizing the use of key resources, incorporating green technologies and, above all, reducing waste emissions. The emerging technologies of Industry 4.0 are aimed at making these transitions possible in the coming years.
Augmented reality allows digital content to be superimposed on a real environment via smart glasses or mobile devices. This means, for example, that an operator can visualize real-time data about a spare part and its assembly instructions. Although this technology is still under development, it will be vital in the near future for maintenance services, quality control and after-sales service companies, as well as for improving the training and safety of the technicians involved.
Industry 4.0 uses autonomous robots, programmed in many cases using AI, to perform certain repetitive, delicate or dangerous tasks without the need for human intervention. A tracking drone would be a clear example of this type of robot.
In contrast, a digital twin consists of a virtual simulation of a real-world machine, product, process or system based on IoT sensor data. A digital twin allows a company to analyze the behavior of a machine in the virtual realm to identify possible faults and potential problems. In this way, the company can optimize machine uptime.
At Gamco we are pioneers in Artificial Intelligence solutions for more than 10 years. We developed this software to optimize business, allowing very important returns from the first month of implementation to minimize risks and maximize sales.
And you, are you coming to Industry 4.0?
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