Industry 5.0 – focus on social and ecological values

In recent years, global economic development has faced downward pressure, and countries around the world have re-recognized the role of manufacturing in stimulating economic growth and creating employment opportunities. Under this pressure, Europe proposed a new Industry 5.0 development concept in January 2021, trying to revive the manufacturing industry and once again lead the global industrial development trend.

In the EU report “Industry 5.0: Towards a Sustainable, People-centered and Resilient European Industry”, it is proposed that Industry 5.0 is derived from Industry 4.0, but it is not a simple continuation but pays more attention to social and ecological values. It requires that industrial production must respect and protect the earth’s ecology, and put workers’ interests at the centre of the production process so that industry can achieve social goals beyond employment and growth and become the cornerstone of social stability and prosperity.

Compared with the “Digitalisation” transformation trend of Industry 4.0, Industry 5.0 begins to involve European industrial transformation (Transforming), production process acceleration (Accelerating) and worker role change (Changing). This provides a historical opportunity for the high-end, intelligent, and green development of the global manufacturing industry, and also gives the concept of Industry 5.0 more possibilities for implementation.


1. Promote deeper manufacturing upgrades

In Europe, the advancement from Industry 4.0 to Industry 5.0 is not rapid, because restructuring the manufacturing industry is not an easy task. After all, the large machines and operating processes used in the manufacturing processes of many companies have undergone decades of continuous development. Improvement and running-in can ultimately optimize work efficiency, productivity and costs. But because of this, the equipment update rate in European industries is not fast, and the continuous iteration speed of production lines has begun to slow down since the 21st century. Especially when faced with personalized needs, these companies are no longer flexible in their response.


In terms of core technology, Industry 5.0 is more like building a way for European industry to coexist with emerging social trends and needs, trying to combine the recognized advantages of robotics technology with human advanced cognitive abilities such as critical thinking. Its technical analysis model emphasizes people-oriented, highlights the status of people, and further improves social well-being. This means that robots need to be able to recognize human intentions on a larger scale and detect and respond to human physiological and psychological states. Finally, in order to improve adaptability, robots also need to learn from the environment and change behaviour based on learning.

These technologies are directly embodied in robots, which will make robots expand in a safer, energy-saving, and friendly direction. At the same time, robots can have more information understanding and interaction capabilities. At present, the robots produced by some European robot manufacturers have initially shown this kind of platformization and integration trend.

But for most manufacturers, this is not a simple “machine replacement”, but an advocate of reintroducing humans into the manufacturing cycle while increasing their collaboration with smart machines, thereby building a resilient industrial chain and supply chain. When the environment facing key value chains changes, this new relationship requires the industry to have the ability to adapt quickly.

This is undoubtedly very different from the concept of Industry 4.0. It needs to reconstruct or “destroy” the traditional industrial manufacturing industry chain linkage, which means that the production process of enterprise products is slow or discontinued. At the same time, many companies in Europe believe that while flexible production is the real way to design, build and maintain products in a highly automated environment, this shift will increasingly lead to a symbiotic relationship between machines and human minds. , and the relevant social ethics system has not yet been established. These factors are enough reasons for many companies and academics to resist entering the new era, so the pace of change is slightly slower.


2. Industry 5.0 creates new opportunities for robot development

For many industries around the world, the focus in the Industry 4.0 era is to ensure the consistency of product quality, production processes and data collection. However, it takes an extremely long time to reconstruct the company’s production plants and production processes. Therefore, while Industry 5.0 is committed to achieving these goals, it pays more attention to highly skilled personnel and robots working together to produce more personalized products for customers, from mobile phones to cars.

For example, one of the cores of collaborative robots and Industry 5.0 lies in the high-quality requirements for human labour, rather than the current simple interaction model. The application of collaborative robots allows humans and robots to complete a task together, and humans and robots can collaborate and integrate in certain links and processes. Compared with the complete unmanned operation of Industry 4.0, this presents a more friendly transitional feature and is also conducive to mitigating the global wave of layoffs.

In the concept of Industry 5.0, all these new industries can adapt well to the world of Industry 5.0, thereby strengthening the synergy of the relationship between humans and machines. According to the report, this shift is likely to result in the creation of 133 million new jobs and the loss of approximately 75 million jobs, indicating that increased automation will bring huge net benefits overall.

It is foreseeable that with the in-depth development of information technology and artificial intelligence technology, as well as the interpenetration with multi-disciplinary and multi-technical fields such as biomaterials, a number of disruptive technologies such as robots that represent the direction of advanced productivity will undoubtedly lead and drive Leading the new technological industrial revolution towards a new technological climax.

On the other hand, the trend of Industry 5.0 is occurring with the acceleration of efficiency improvement in traditional industries. Due to the huge scale of traditional industries, digital transformation will bring huge value space. According to statistical calculations, there are currently more than 60 trillion-dollar industrial clusters in the world. In only five key areas: aviation, electricity, healthcare, railways, and oil and gas, if automation and digital equipment such as robots are introduced to support and improve efficiency by 1%, In the next 15 years, these five major areas will save nearly 300 billion US dollars in energy consumption, with an average annual saving of 20 billion US dollars.

Therefore, Industry 5.0 means more rapid and beneficial transformation and upgrading opportunities for China. Statistics from the Bureau of Statistics show that in 2020, China’s digital economy, including 5G big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and blockchain, has brought industrialized business volume to China reaching 7 trillion yuan. Last year The digital economy accounted for 30% of GDP, and this part of the output value will increase the traditional industry by 23 trillion.

Then, according to the “14th Five-Year Plan for Intelligent Manufacturing Development” issued by eight departments including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the National Development and Reform Commission, by 2025, 70% of manufacturing enterprises above the designated size will basically realize digital network computing and more than 500 leading industries will The development of smart manufacturing demonstration factories will inevitably put more demands on robots in these fields, leading to greater industrial opportunities.

As far as industrial forms are concerned, it will undoubtedly be more beneficial for late-developing countries in the manufacturing industry to leapfrog Industry 4.0, which is a fully automated model, and directly enter Industry 5.0, which is human-machine collaboration. After years of development, my country’s manufacturing industry has formed many unique advantages. In the past 30 years, China has been a crucial node and hub in the global dual-cycle structure. China has always dominated the mid-to-low-end manufacturing industry in the global secondary industry. Production in Western countries is mainly high-end service industry. China and the West have formed a mutual cycle of secondary and tertiary industries, while other resource-based countries with the advantage of the raw material industry have formed a cycle of primary and secondary industries with China.

Therefore, for China’s robotics and other industries, the reconstruction of the industrial chain is to reposition the role of workers, treat workers as corporate investments, and allow workers to participate in the design and deployment of new smart manufacturing technologies such as robots and artificial intelligence. At the same time, the core of new technology applications is to serve people and meet the diverse needs of workers, rather than simply “replacing people.” This will form an excellent buffer for China’s economy. A deeper transformation of the manufacturing industry can form a more stable and high-level industrial cluster, making my country’s industrial position more stable.

3. Industry 5.0 will reshape the future of manufacturing


In addition to the above-mentioned focus areas of Industry 5.0, how can general industry and services improve the efficiency and versatility of future factories in a clear way? One of the most important considerations is opening the physical interface between humans and robots. Industry 5.0 requires robots to do monotonous, dangerous, dirty work, while humans do creative and interesting work, but robots are better able to understand human intentions and thinking at work. This kind of technical staff is called “new collar”. “New collar” workers do not necessarily need to obtain a four-year degree, but they need to master new technologies and soft skills, which will become the future of manufacturing.

Therefore, unlike Industry 4.0, which is mainly characterized by automation, the advantage of the Industry 5.0 model is that it makes customization more potential, makes it easier to create a new economic model, and makes work more creative, long-term, and high-value. This empowers people to do what they do best – solve problems, analyze data, strategize for process improvements and product innovation, and make informed decisions more quickly.

Nowadays, my country’s digital economy is booming. In 2021, the scale of my country’s digital economy will reach 37.7 trillion yuan. Its global scale is second only to the United States, with a growth rate of 17.8%, ranking first in the world, and 7.9 higher than the average growth rate of the global digital economy. Percent has become a veritable digital economic power. This is due to the fact that my country is at the forefront of the world in the development and application of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, robots, and intelligent driving. New business formats and new models such as Internet medical care, online office, “new individual economy”, and “unmanned economy” are emerging one after another, creating hundreds of millions of flexible jobs.

As the promotion of industrial digitization and digital industrialization is an important starting point for developing high-end manufacturing and promoting the optimization and upgrading of the industrial structure during my country’s “14th Five-Year Plan” period, it is inevitable to carry out the all-round, all-angle, and all-chain transformation of the manufacturing industry to promote the direction of the manufacturing industry. Digitization, networking, and intelligence will further promote digital industrialization.

Then, comprehensively deploy a new generation of communication network infrastructure, cultivate and expand emerging digital industries such as artificial intelligence, big data, and network security, conform to the digital development trend of the world economy, generate new momentum for economic development, and also strengthen artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing in conjunction with Industry 5.0 The application of such technologies coincides with the in-depth integration of green technology innovation and manufacturing digitalization, and improves the intelligence level of enterprises in resource allocation, process control, energy conservation and emission reduction.

Under such conditions, robots, as an important carrier of digital economy industrialization and industrial digitization, will undoubtedly usher in the overlay of digitalization and greening of traditional industries, shifting from focusing on efficiency and speed to focusing more on quality and fairness.

Therefore, in the research and development and design of robots, it is even more necessary to pay attention to human thinking and emotions, and fully pay attention to and respect consumer needs. In the production process, strengthen the application of technologies such as sensing and communication, and mobile robots, ensure that workers safely participate in human-machine collaboration, give full play to the respective advantages of humans and machines to complete various tasks, and consider sustainable development of environmental and social issues as R&D The priority of the plan is to explore the application of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G, edge computing, and virtual reality in typical scenarios, links, and levels, create multiple smart scenarios for the application of new technologies, and seize new heights in the development of the world’s manufacturing industry.

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