How is Industry 4.0 defined?
Industry 4.0 is the fourth industrial revolution. Academia and industry believe that following the steam revolution, electrical revolution, and information revolution, mankind will usher in the fourth industrial revolution based on cyber-physical systems and marked by highly digitalized, networked, and self-organized production.
The “Industry 4.0” project is mainly divided into three major themes:
The first is “Smart Factory”, which focuses on the research of intelligent production systems and processes, as well as the realization of networked distributed production facilities;
The second is “intelligent production”, which mainly involves the production and logistics management of the entire enterprise, human-computer interaction, and the application of 3D technology in the industrial production process. The plan will pay special attention to attracting the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises, and strive to make small and medium-sized enterprises become users and beneficiaries of a new generation of intelligent production technology, and also become creators and suppliers of advanced industrial production technology;
The third is “smart logistics”, which integrates logistics resources mainly through the Internet, the Internet of Things, and logistics networks, and gives full play to the efficiency of the existing logistics resource suppliers, while the demand side can quickly obtain service matching and logistics support.
What are Industry 4.0 technologies?
The nine technology pillars of Industry 4.0 include big data and data analysis technology, automatic robot technology, simulation technology, horizontal and vertical system integration technology, Internet of Things technology, network security technology, cloud computing technology, additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology, and augmented reality technology.
1. Big data and data analysis technology
Human society has entered the DT era from the IT era. The analysis model based on big data has only recently appeared in the global manufacturing industry. Its advantages lie in its ability to optimize product quality, save energy, and improve equipment services.
In the context of Industry 4.0, data from different sources such as development systems, production systems, and enterprise and customer management systems will be comprehensively integrated and evaluated, making it a standard to support real-time decision-making.
2. Autonomous robotics
Robots are known as the jewel in the crown of the manufacturing industry. With the continuous development of the trend of robot intelligence, robots have become more autonomous, flexible, and cooperative. Ultimately, human-computer interaction and human-computer communication are realized. Robots have long been used to handle complex tasks in many industries and are still evolving.
The robots produced by robot equipment manufacturers have the ability to communicate with each other. These robots can work together to adjust their actions according to the process on the production line. These robots are also equipped with advanced sensors and control units and can work closely with humans. ABB has launched YuMi, a dual-arm robot that can work side by side with workers. They have computer vision systems that can not only identify parts but also ensure safe interaction with people.
3. Simulation technology
In the field of engineering design, many companies have adopted 3D simulation technology to design the structure and materials of products. In the future, analog technology will be extended to a wider range. People can use real-time data to mimic the physical world and put new products into a virtual production environment. Before actual production, the company can test and optimize these new products, thereby reducing the time for equipment assembly and debugging and improving product quality.
Siemens AG has developed a virtual machine system that can imitate machines with real data. This system can reduce equipment assembly and commissioning time by up to 80%.
4. Horizontal and vertical system integration technology
IT systems in most companies today are not fully integrated. Companies, suppliers, and customers often work in silos. Within companies, engineering, production, and functional departments are also often isolated from each other. Even in the link of engineering design, few companies can achieve the three points and one line of design-manufacturing-automation. But with the development of Industry 4.0 technology, companies, departments, and capabilities will become a closer whole, and a data network across the company will truly automate the value chain.
Dassault Systèmes and BoostAeroSpace have built a collaborative platform called AirDesign for the European aerospace and defense industry. The platform is built on a private cloud, through which participating partners can carry out complex cooperation and data exchange.
5. IoT Technology
Currently, the number of connected products with built-in sensors and computers is still limited. However, with the advent of the Internet of Things era and the unification of connection standards, more and more products will be connected to each other. At that time, product devices in different geographical locations will be able to interact and communicate and will be centrally controlled by the central processor. The Internet of Things will realize the decentralization of decision-making. Connected devices can conduct automatic analysis and decision-making, and respond to environmental changes in real-time.
Rexroth, a subsidiary of the Bosch Group, has launched an automatic production system. Through radio coding, workstations at different locations can sense the production steps that each product needs to go through and execute the production process automatically. Network Security Technology.
6. Network Security
With the advent of the Industry 4.0 era, previously isolated devices will be connected to each other, and industrial systems and production lines will be integrated into one. At that time, the importance of network security will increase significantly. Secure and reliable network communications as well as identity and access management systems will become critical.
Several large industrial equipment makers in Europe have partnered with cybersecurity firms through alliances and mergers.
7. Cloud computing technology
Many enterprises have already started using cloud applications for functions and data analysis. In the future, more production data and functions will be carried out on the cloud to provide more data-related services for manufacturing. As the technology evolves, future monitoring and control processes may also migrate to the cloud.
8. Additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology
Some companies have already started to adopt 3D printing technology, but most are in the experimental stage or used to manufacture individual parts. In the future, 3D printing technology will be widely used in small-batch production and mass customization. 3D printing technology will greatly reduce the inventory cost and logistics costs of enterprises.
Aircraft manufacturers have begun to use 3D printing technology to reduce the weight of aircraft and save the use of rare materials such as titanium.
9. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality systems can assist workers in many ways, such as selecting parts in the warehouse or sending repair instructions through handheld devices. These systems are currently experimental, but in the future, these technologies will provide workers with real-time information to help them make real-time decisions and improve production processes.
For example, workers in the future could be equipped with devices such as augmented reality glasses. When they check a piece of equipment, the computer will send the cause of the failure and repair instructions to the glasses of the worker.
what are Industry 4.0 requirements?
In order to realize Industry 4.0, on the one hand, it is necessary to continue to improve the production and processing level of the manufacturing industry, the processing and manufacturing of precision machine tools, and the multi-equipment collaboration of new unmanned chemical factories; on the other hand, it is necessary to improve the efficiency of information interaction and enterprise collaboration capabilities. To promote the digital transformation of the manufacturing industry, an industrial Internet platform is needed in this regard.
Under the trend of Industry 4.0, existing factories will face four major business challenges and five major management requirements.
Four Business Challenges
1. Pressure on quality cost
2. The unpredictability of output and profit
3. Pressure on management and maintenance costs of production equipment
4. Automation requirements for production processes and equipment
Five Management Requirements
1. Factory information: must be complete and visualized in real-time to support the multi-stage analysis requirements of smart manufacturing;
2. Equipment automation: have the ability to accept control instructions and modify equipment attributes;
3. Equipment maintenance: from the regular maintenance in the 3.0 era to the proactive maintenance required in the 4.0 era;
4. Factory energy consumption: realize intelligent management and increase green responsibility for the environment;
5. Connected supply chain: must support end-to-end comprehensive IoT connectivity.
The means to support the above challenges and requirements, in addition to perfecting the Connected Machine Automation (Connected Machine Automation) and Manufacturing Execution System (MES), also need to cooperate with big data analysis, cloud computing, mobile devices, and information security systems to realize such as production line Competitive advantages such as optimized scheduling, early warning of product quality, and predictive maintenance of production equipment.