“Industrial revolution 4.0”, “factory 4.0” or simply “revolution 4.0”, so many terms to name the one that will be at the origin of the factory of the future: industry 4.0. The 4th industrial revolution was introduced with two essential goals: better produce and smarter produce. It is for this reason that the factory 4.0 is already called a “smart factory”: a smart factory, more efficient and interconnected that will operate using IIoT technology, among other things. Many of the so-called “old” industry technologies are still widely used today and have proven to be reliable, but it is new technologies that are at the heart of this huge change. New technologies represent a very wide range of equipment and software that, when connected, can transform a manufacturing company into a factory of the future and that is why in this article, we are going to introduce you to some of the major technologies that we find. at the heart of this industrial revolution.
Today’s industrial world always requires more data and information exchanges to be processed and it is on this issue mainly that artificial intelligence will work at the heart of Industry 4.0. There is no longer any question of synthesizing data as we know it, we must now use all this data in order to always be one step ahead: deduce trends, make predictions about the behavior of the data in time, among others. Some solutions are starting to emerge, mainly based on deep learning. The methods associated with the latter allow machine learning with a high level of abstraction related to data observation. Concretely, this data can make it possible, for example, to predict the risks of slowdown or failure or to optimize a production chain. Artificial intelligence can now be used sensibly and wisely thanks to the Industrial Internet of Things. Nevertheless, AI still has a long way to go, especially when it comes to automated decision making. At the moment, applications in this direction are only in their infancy and mostly offer effective solutions in “guided” decision making.
This technology is a technique that allows live visualization of objects or physical environments in an improved way through the use of a digital medium, such as a tablet or a smartphone, for example. Augmented reality can play an important role in Industry 4.0, especially at the heart of industrial maintenance. Indeed, today the complexity of machine maintenance has increased and augmented reality through a tablet, for example, can inform and train in a didactic and visual way the operators at the heart of production. The worker visualizes in real time a machine which he observes through his tablet and the scene is “zoomed in” in order to visually provide as much relevant and explanatory information as possible.
Virtual reality immerses you in another world. While augmented reality will enlarge your visual field and make it more precise, virtual reality takes you into another reality where you can go as far as interacting with the elements that make it up. Virtual reality is only in its infancy in Industry 4.0, but it goes without saying that it will play a major role in the years to come. This technology brings, among other things, a new methodology to train its teams. It will allow an operator to interact directly with his machine and train himself to react reactively in the event of a malfunction, for example.
Cobots (a term derived from “collaborative robots”) are small, lightweight robots that work directly with the operator and relieve them by doing the most thankless and burdensome tasks for them. This technology, which is already all the rage within the factory 4.0, allows the operator to gain in productivity and presents absolutely no danger in the workplace. In particular, it opens the doors to the robotics application in SMIs and SMEs.
The IIoT: The Industrial Internet of Things
For any business in the production and / or transportation of physical goods, for example, the IIoT provides operational efficiency that will revolutionize their system. The IIoT makes it possible to make factories smarter, more efficient because each link in the production chain will be in constant communication to produce faster and more efficiently, it allows the increase in the use of renewable green energy, the number of positive and self-regulated energy buildings, also allows cities to adapt their road traffic in order to avoid congestion at peak times, for example. The Industrial Internet of Objects allows all links in the production chain (machine, operators, suppliers, customers, etc.) to be in perpetual connection with each other. IIoT is a key technology in building the factory of the future.
Big Data refers to a set of data so large that it greatly exceeds the capabilities of humans and traditional IT tools in terms of data analysis. In Industry 4.0, Big Data plays a key role in processing the volume of information that makes up an industry’s information system. Big Data was created because all conventional data storage technologies are today overtaken by these gargantuan volumes. This 4.0 technology has enabled the birth of a whole new job: the Data Scientist, a person who creates powerful algorithms to extract usable data from big data platforms.
Let’s end this non-exhaustive list of Industry 4.0 technologies with the famous Cloud Computing. The Cloud is made up of several technologies that make it possible to harness the computing and storage power of remote computer servers. More precisely, instead of being satisfied with having local IT infrastructures, the Cloud makes it possible to outsource all or part of it. In Industry 4.0, the Cloud allows:
- Processing huge amounts of information at a lower cost: saving money;
- Storage of a large volume of computer data: space saving;
- Data transfer from the different production points to a centralized node: centralized organization.
The cloud provides an answer to the constraints related to storage, the decentralized organization of data, as well as the processing of large data.
This list of technologies at the heart of Industry 4.0 is not exhaustive and will flourish over the years given that the industrial revolution 4.0 is still in its foundations but anyway, all these technologies will play a role. key role in the industry of the future, there is no shadow of a doubt.