Industry 4.0 is a concept recently proposed that encompasses the main technological innovations of the automation, control and information technology applied to the manufacturing processes. From Cyber-Physical Systems, Internet of Things and Internet Services, the production processes tend to become increasingly efficient, autonomous and customizable. It is a new period in the context of the industrial revolution.
“With intelligent factories, several changes will take place in the way the products will be manufactured, impacting on various market sectors.”
A bit of History
The term Industry 4.0 originated from a project of German government strategies geared towards technology. The term was first used at the Hannover Fair in 2011. In October 2012, the group responsible for the project, led by Siegfried Dais (Robert Bosch GmbH) and Kagermann (acatech) presented a report of recommendations to the German Federal Government, the Order to plan their deployment. Then in April 2013 a final paper on the development of Industry 4.0 was published at the same fair. Its basic rationale is that by connecting machines, systems and assets, companies can create intelligent networks along the entire value chain that can control production modules autonomously. In other words, intelligent plants will have the capacity and autonomy to schedule maintenance, predict process failures and adapt to unplanned production requirements and changes.
There are principles for the development and deployment of Industry 4.0, which define the intelligent production systems that tend to emerge in the coming years.
Real-time operation capability: Consists of virtually instantaneous data acquisition and processing, enabling real-time decision making.
Virtualization: Simulations are already used today as well as supervisory systems. However, industry 4.0 proposes the existence of a virtual copy of the intelligent factories. Allowing the traceability and remote monitoring of all processes through the numerous sensors scattered throughout the plant.
Decentralization: Decision-making can be done by the cyber-physical system according to the needs of real-time production. In addition, machines will not only receive commands, but will be able to provide information about their work cycle. Therefore, the intelligent manufacturing modules will work in a decentralized way to improve production processes.
Service Orientation: Use of service-oriented software architectures coupled with the Internet of Services concept.
Modularity: Production according to the demand, coupling and decoupling of modules in production. This gives you the flexibility to change machine tasks easily.
Based on the above principles, Industry 4.0 is a reality that is made possible by the technological advances of the last decade, allied to developing technologies in the fields of the Information Technology and engineering. The most relevant are:
Internet of Things (IoT): Consists of networking physical objects, environments, vehicles and machines by means of embedded electronic devices that allow the collection and exchange of data. Systems that operate on the Internet of Things and are endowed with sensors and actuators are called Cyber-physical systems, and are the basis of Industry 4.0.
Big Data Analytics: These are very extensive and complex data structures that use new approaches to capture, analyze and manage information. Applied to Industry 4.0, Big Data technology consists of 6Cs to handle relevant information: Connection (to the industrial network, sensors and PLCs), Cloud (cloud / demand data), Cyber (model and memory), Content, Community Information) and Customization (personalization and values).
Security: One of the major challenges to the success of the fourth industrial revolution lies in the security and robustness of information systems. Problems such as transmission failures in machine-to-machine communication, or even eventual “gagging” of the system can cause production disruption. With all this connectivity, systems will also be needed to protect the company’s know-how contained in process control files.
In addition to these technologies, other devices will play an important role in the industry 4.0. Like RFID technology, which has been gaining ground with industrial traceability systems, and IO-Link modules. These modules have their own IP address, with direct connections of high and low level. Therefore, they decentralize and organize the sensor network and other components. With the modularity process of Industry 4.0, coupled with the growing number of sensors that will be used in intelligent factories, the IO-Link modules develop Cyber-physical systems for intelligent plants.
The trend is that, very soon, factories will adapt to the concept of Industry 4.0, becoming highly autonomous and efficient.
One of the biggest impacts caused by the Industry 4.0 will be a change that will affect the market, creating new business models. In an increasingly demanding market, many companies are already seeking to integrate product needs and preferences specific to each customer. Consumers’ prior customization of the product tends to be an additional variable in the manufacturing process, but smart factories will be able to take each client’s personalization into account by adapting to preferences.
Another point that will be shaken by the fourth industrial revolution will be research and development in the fields of security in IT, reliability of production and machine-machine interaction. Technology must continually evolve to make business adaptation possible to this emerging industry standard.
“Professionals will also need to adapt, because with even more automated factories new demands will arise while some will cease to exist. Manual and repetitive work has already been replaced by automated labor, and with Industry 4.0 this tends to continue. On the other hand, research and development demands will provide opportunities for technically skilled professionals with multidisciplinary training to understand and work with the variety of technology that makes up an intelligent factory.”
Helio is an IT Versatilist, passionate in identifying technologies that will present in our future. Throughout his career, Helio has implemented a wide range of corporate initiatives of several technologies and platforms, achieving excellent and consistent results.
Certified Senior Analyst and Infrastructure Technology Architect since 2011, extending his expertise in other corporate areas such as Finance, Industry, Logistics, Banking and Foreign Trade.
“I feel that I have more life experience than years of age ;=) I just started very young. Technology and help people has always been my passion. “