Industry 4.0 is a relatively new term in the manufacturing world. It was first coined in 2011 at the Hanover Fair in Germany and focuses on six design principles. These design principles are meant to lead us into a new Industrial Revolution, this one powered by computers.
Çağlayan Arkan, General Manager of Worldwide Manufacturing and Resources for Microsoft, says of this new Industrial revolution, “industries will be remade, ecosystems will be recreated, new players will emerge – with a huge paradigm shift, maybe many of them – and some will become extinct.”
We have the technological basis to power Industry 4.0, with things like technology that helps manufacturing companies cut costs. There are many more improvements to come, however.
Most of these improvements will rely on “super-automation”. Driving improvements like machines that predict failures and automatically trigger maintenance processes, freeing up people and resources to focus on more important tasks and goals. Another improvement will be increased communication and transparency. For instance, a steering wheel supplier getting visibility into a dealership to get feedback and make a better product, which will (in turn) grow the dealership through increased customer satisfaction.
We have a long way to go before we are there, though. There are glaring differences between today’s typical factory and an Industry 4.0 factory. Eventually, though, according to Siegfried Dais—one of the creators of the six design principles—“it is highly likely that the world of production will become more and more networked until everything is interlinked with everything else.”