The concept of industry 4.0 is more than a current trend. This revolution will have a major impact on 3 manufacturing key aspects: quality, manufacturing costs and production times. For manufacturing companies, this represents a unique opportunity to step up and increase their productivity.
In more specific terms, industry 4.0 is the digitalization of companies. This digitalization brings both new challenges and new solutions. We have gathered related technological solutions in 9 main functions. Technology is not a revolution in itself but rather its interactions via connected equipment and processes.
1. Data Management
Data represent the centre of this revolution. A mountain of data: technologies related to storage, management and data analysis constitute the first family of solutions allowing companies’ digitalization.
2. Data Acquisition
Sensors are also one of the basis of industry 4.0 where all forms of data acquisition are included. The objective is to first measure current activities, then analyse these data.
3. Monitoring and Manufacturing Control
Monitoring and manufacturing control already exist by using indicators, dashboards, but in this case, we are looking for data of current activities of the factory in actual time. This allows to react instantly and make decisions more quickly on a production line.
4. Augmented Reality
Innovation in augmented reality supports employees in their decision-making and daily tasks. For instance, we are including these technologies within industry 4.0 the moment these tools are connected to a centralized management system. Some examples are already applied in factories such as the “voice picking” which helps avoiding errors and increases execution speed of laser projection which guides operators in measuring, drilling and cutting.
5. Transfer of Knowledge
Like social networks, multiple exchanges platforms now allow employees to connect with their colleagues and digitize their knowledge to share and transfer it. These applications can be used for training staff, diffusing internal communication and centralizing information and knowledge of employees.
6. Autonomous Equipment
Autonomous equipment are mostly advanced automated equipment which are using integrated systems.
7. Advanced Manufacturing
We find in this category additive manufacturing technologies which are increasingly present and better applied. We also gather in this category dynamic compensation technologies such as Renishaw’s integrated sensor systems in machining field.
8. Energy Optimization
Technology already allows energy consumption modulation according to peak periods, and many companies have been completed energy savings projects. Innovation in this matter lies on optimizing and monitoring energy consum
ption. In Quebec, low cost electricity represents a competitive advantage which may disappear if every company optimize their energy consumption.
9. Customer Experience
Offering to a customer a unique shopping experience based on his needs and tastes is a trend which a majority of manufacturers cannot ignore. This aspect implies mass customization and modularization. The most significant example would be online shopping where a product is personalized by choosing specific aspects from a wide range of features.
Merkur is a portal of expertise towards the digitalization of manufacturing companies.
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