The Internet of Things is one of the major factors affecting the new communicative and interactive developments. Physical objects are made smart by connecting them to the internet utilizing ubiquitous sensors; leading to the gradual replacement of conventional computers and major changes.
Thus, when everything is connected to everything, manufacturing will have a very different face.
This is where Industry 4.0 comes to play. Industry 4.0 or commonly known as the fourth industrial revolution, is the current trend in the automation world of data exchange and manufacturing.
With the first revolution being the introduction of the steam engine, the second bringing assembly line mass production and the third establishing automation via electronic controllers, it is now time for the fourth industrial revolution.
The road to smart factory
Imagine Industry 4.0 to be a “smart factory”, within which the systems generally monitor physical process, create a virtual copy of the physical process and make decentralized decisions. These systems are called as Cyber-physical systems (CPS).
The Internet of Things has already set in motion the idea of the fourth industrial revolution. It is a new wave technological changes that decentralizes production control and trigger a paradigm shift in manufacturing.
This vision, with its emphasis on real-time communications and automation, definitely has a lot of overlap with the general principles of the IoT. Smart factories, which are essentially the core of Industry 4.0, cannot work on a standalone basis. There is a need for the networking of smart
factories, smart products, and other smart production systems.
Benefits of the Industry 4.0 and IoT
The general misconception is that benefits of the Industry 4.0 is restricted to only the manufacturing industry. However, Industry 4.0 has much more farther reach than what it is believed to be. The ability to connect manufacturing equipment to a Web-based network and derive substantial value from these connections is more practical and compelling than ever.
The advantages for manufacturers who implement Industrial IoT solutions would be that it enables them in better decision-making. When devices are connected, the data they generate can flow into software applications that create the information individuals can use to make choices that are
timely and effective. By understanding the results of these choices more fully, decision-makers can achieve strategic objectives or benchmark performance.Decisions will be based on knowledge and wisdom, not theory or guesswork. Better decisions mean fewer mistakes and less waste.
Cyber threats to the Industrial IoT are real, global and growing, security experts say. Threats include theft of trade secrets and intellectual property, hostile alterations to data, and disruptions or denial of process control.
Shops should consider how to protect their data, their systems and their networks at every step toward becoming part of the Industrial IoT. Connecting machine tools to a network or cloud-based application creates a number of vulnerabilities, which are often overlooked.
Getting Started on the IoT Pathway
A practical option for many companies will be to install a comprehensive machine monitoring system. This approach is recommended because machine monitoring introduces key elements necessary for wider Industrial IoT connections.
There would be no fourth industrial revolution, no Industry 4.0 and no Smart Factory without the Internet of Things. Its implementation of smart technology is the basis for new industrial developments and self-governing devices. It is the base for increased product customization and
higher flexibility while at the same time allowing stronger consumer and supplier impact of automated processes.
Better decision-making is the main benefit of creating a connected factory in which machines and people are smarter. Whether it is machine monitoring or cloud-based, the initial steps have to be manageable, transparent and respectful of the individual.
If there is one thing we can be sure of is that the smart future is here!