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Industry 4.0 – The Next Revolution

What is Industry 4.0?

With Industry 4.0, the future of business is happening today. You’ve probably seen aspects of it; consumer electronics that allow homeowners to control their thermostats and lights from their mobile phones for example.

This is what’s referred to as the Internet of Things, or the IoT. The same type of device connectivity and cloud storage capabilities are now coming to the Metals Distribution Industry as well. 

Historians now refer to the most recent industrial revolution as Industry 4.0. Put simply, each revolution changes how people create. 

Industry 1.0 – You’ve probably heard of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s, when manufacturing first became more common than farming. Mechanisation, steam engines, water power, Iron production, textiles, mining and machine tools.

Industry 2.0 – The second revolution occurred when factories transitioned from mechanical to electric operations, mass production, engines, telegraph, gas and water supply.

Industry 3.0 – The third happened when factories integrated computers, PCL, robotics, electronic networks, automation and digital machines.

Industry 4.0The latest revolution marks the use of the internet to facilitate manufacturing processes across the industry. Smart facilities use autonomous machines, advanced robotics, big data, analytics, internet of things( IoT), digital cloud, machine learning and AI to improve efficiency and respond to problems as soon as they arise.

Adopting Industry 4.0

Adopting the technology of Industry 4.0 requires a significant investment but allows for numerous benefits. For instance, productivity increases dramatically with the integration of advanced technology. In fact, in the United States alone, technology has increased manufacturing productivity by 40% in the last two decades. 

Industry 4.0 also allows for better tracking of materials and more efficient inventory. If materials used in manufacturing have defects, tracking technology can provide a simpler way to determine which products are affected. 

Are you ready for Industry 4.0? 

Though the manufacturing sphere is swiftly changing, many facilities don’t feel prepared for the new industrial revolution. While 84% of companies are moving quickly to Industry 4.0, only 14% feel ready for the revolution — and only 25% feel they have a well-trained workforce that could tackle the demands of this move.

Of course, most companies want to move forward with adopting these new advanced technologies and methods. Several factors continue to push the industry into a more savvy future; data availability, enhanced connectivity, smart factories, and consumer demand are all driving the industry into the next revolution.

Data availability makes it easier to know every step in production, make changes where needed to be made to enhance productivity and collect data to become as efficient as possible. And increasing consumer desires push companies to make these changes. 

Implementing Industry 4.0 

To implement Industry 4.0, you’ll need to upgrade your equipment and employee training programmess. Begin by adding new software systems to handle the automation. You’ll also need to partner with an established industry  IT company to ensure that your platform is installed and operating correctly and keep your system safe from hackers.

Industry 4.0 is a vision and policy with standardisation while accepting flexibility in a world that is in motion. 

The goal is to enable rapid decision-making, monitor assets and processes in real-time, and leverage existing data and additional data sources from connected assets to gain efficiencies to create end-to-end information streams in real-time across the value chain. 

Enabling more efficient production and servicing, as well as superior customer interaction (including gaining real-time data from actual product usage) and cutting the inefficiencies, irrelevance and costs where possible. Promoting a customer-centric sense of service to customers who value speed, cost efficiencies and value-added innovative services.

In the end, it remains business – to grow, innovate and remain relevant while optimising customer value and loyalty.

Image courtesy of Umberto via Unsplash

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