Industry 4.0 in Manufacturing

It seems as if the whole world wants to talk about Industry 4.0 (or Industrie 4.0 if you prefer the European spelling). Industry 4.0 is embodied by two main buzz worthy topics known as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data / Advanced Analytics.

What is Industry 4.0?

The “4.0” references what many consider to be the fourth major industrial revolution. The first being the utilization of machines, the second involving assembly lines and mass production, the third employing automation, and now the fourth: cyber physical systems (machines communicating with one another). That modest single digit pales in comparison to the other numbers that are bantered about when talking about Industry 4.0. Most estimate that there will be 22.5 Billion IoT devices by 2021 – or roughly three for every one person on earth. Along with that is the prediction that $4.8 trillion will be invested in IoT between 2016 and 2021. In many ways these numbers are mind-numbing and hard to translate into practical understanding.

Industry 4.0 Diagram

Tackling Industry 4.0

The simplistic view is that QAD’s manufacturing customers will undergo a digital transformation during the revolution of Industry 4.0. This revolution will be based on an explosion of technology in terms of sensors, connectivity, computing power, analytic techniques and architectural options. This is not simply the automation of existing processes and transactions. Instead Industry 4.0 will bring completely new approaches to how they manufacture and run their businesses.

There is no single way of embarking on this effort and most manufacturers are in the early stages of laying the foundation for their Industry 4.0 journey. The ability and motivation of each manufacturing enterprise to embrace various Industry 4.0 capabilities will vary. All of this revolution has to take place while sustaining current daily operational execution.

QAD and the Next Industrial Revolution

QAD will play an important role in our manufacturing customers Industry 4.0 journey. Embedded analytics, a portfolio that fosters unprecedented collaboration, smart transactions via Automation Solutions and advanced data exchange through interoperability are all examples of foundational elements of the digital transformations necessary for Industry 4.0.

What is your take on Industry 4.0? Have you taken any steps in integrating aspects of Industry 4.0 into your manufacturing processes?