Thanks to Industry 4.0 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, manufacturers will never build the same way again. By digitizing their businesses, manufacturers in all sectors are finding new, more cost-effective ways to source materials, run their production lines, serve customers, and analyze their results for continuous improvements.
As with any sweeping change, Industry 4.0 may seem confusing or intimidating to manufacturing professionals who are still getting acquainted with what it entails. Indeed, there are many technologies that could have a place in the current revolution. The challenge is to identify which of these have the greatest potential to revolutionize the way you do business. Consider turning your attention towards artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, and blockchain.
Like all of the most important Industry 4.0 technologies, artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, and blockchain share a common trait: they revolve around the cloud. This means you can easily access the data storage space and computing power you’ll need to analyze the massive amounts of data these technologies consume and generate.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these technologies.
Artificial intelligence (AI) helps you solve problems by identifying patterns in your data that you couldn’t see on your own. How? By combining automation with machine learning to analyze staggering amounts of data. This means you can spot unhealthy trends in machine downtime, identify periods with high scrap rates and use these insights to make smarter, more profitable business decisions.
Additive manufacturing has become a wildly popular concept even outside the manufacturing sector, where most people know it by another name: 3D printing. Even hobbyists are buying 3D printers and creating useful items from their homes. Meanwhile, manufacturers are just beginning to explore all the potential applications of additive manufacturing. Some have applied machine learning to generative design to create alternative designs of parts. Others are mass-producing end-use products or even building prosthetics that are tailored to the needs of each patient.
Blockchain. Ever wished you could take traceability to its absolute limits? Ever wondered what actually happens to a block of steel from the moment it’s first mined until it rolls off the production line in a brand-new car? Blockchain holds great potential as a way for manufacturers to keep a digital ledger of every piece of material—even amidst the friction of a complex supply chain. By providing each supply chain stakeholder with a secure, central ledger for recording information about materials, blockchain could finally help manufacturers reach their goal of ultimate traceability.
Where to Learn More about Industry 4.0
By concentrating on these three key technologies, your organization can embrace Industry 4.0 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution without getting bogged down in jargon. For a detailed overview of how your organization can benefit from Industry 4.0, download this free white paper: The Curious Path to Industry 4.0.