Industry 4.0: smart and connected

The meaning of Industry 4.0, also known as “smart industry”, refers to a new model of organisation and control of the value chain, throughout the product life cycle and manufacturing systems, thanks to the application of digital technology.

Ultimately, it is the complete digitalisation of the value chain via the use of data processing technologies, smart software and sensors, from suppliers to customers. This makes it possible to predict, control and produce in a more intelligent way, generating greater value throughout the chain.

How does the term Industry 4.0 differ from Industry 5.0?

In Industry 4.0, the automation of processes is prioritised, minimising human participation. In Industry 5.0, the objective is to achieve the greatest possible benefits from human-machine interaction, finding a balance between the use of technology and the creative potential of the human being.

What does Smart Factory mean?

Smart Factory refers to a highly connected and digitised factory, capable of collecting and analysing useful data to improve processes, reduce costs and minimise time frames.

These are factories that operate autonomously, without the need for much human intervention. They are capable of adapting production to the needs of the moment, thanks to the large amount of information that is processed. In other words, they learn and adapt to changes in real time.

Their main features are:

. Reliable stored data
. Connection of physical and digital elements
. Optimisation of resources
. Bidirectional data flow
. Speed and flexibility

Requirements for becoming a connected industry

Have smart sensors at points in the production chain that can offer relevant information. These record data and transmit it in real time to create alerts, analysis and predictive decision-making. Some of them allow equipment to be inspected and problems solved without interrupting production.

The use of communication standards and protocols between equipment, operators and cloud-based applications. The way in which the machines talk and deliver their conclusions and data to us is key to speed and efficiency in manufacturing processes.

Network, application and data security is vital to prevent cyberattacks in production plants that have robots and other connected equipment. This could jeopardise the company’s production, results and reputation.

New design of the production plant, optimised according to new processes. To achieve more flexible plants, reduce emissions and real property requirements.

The incorporation of Artificial Intelligence systems that establish efficient ways of working and that enable the prediction of possible conflicts or breakdowns.

The technologies associated with AI in a connected factory are: cyber-physical systems, collaborative robotics and the cloud system for the virtualisation and management of the data obtained.

What technologies are found in the smart industry?

The key technologies underpinning Industry 4.0 are:

Mobile communication

Mobile technologies and mobile internet are the basis of the IoT. They allow data capture and remote services in real time and from anywhere.

The Cloud (Cloud Computing)

The cloud enables the flow of data generated by the intelligent products and systems without borders, and eliminates the need for investment in infrastructure to increase capacity. At the same time, it allows access to data from any location.

Data Analysis (Big Data)

Data analysis allows you to identify patterns, analyse processes, discover inefficiencies and even predict future events. This information can give rise to ways to improve efficiency and new services for the client, who will also be better known and understood.

Machine to Machine Communication

This refers to the technology of the “Internet of Things” (IoT), which allows the exchange of information between the intelligent products and systems that make up Industry 4.0.

Information exchange

Communication in industrial environments will increasingly entail a more dynamic interaction, that will favour collaboration and innovation.

Advanced and collaborative robotics

Robots are becoming more autonomous, flexible, and cooperative. Over time, in Industry 5.0, they will interact with each other and work alongside human beings, learning from them and obtaining capabilities far superior to those of today.

Augmented reality

This provides workers with real-time information to improve decision-making and work procedures.

The importance of cyber-security in smart industry

The use of technology and Internet connectivity are key factors for Industry 4.0. The digitalisation of the industrial sector and its transformation into smart factories increases the importance of cyber-security.

Cyber-security consists of a series of technologies and processes designed to minimise computer attacks on the use, processing, storage and exchange of information from industries.

This is another fundamental aspect of Industry 4.0, in order to avoid negative economic impact, a bad reputation for the company and the loss of customer and supplier trust.

The smart industry is not the future, it is the present

The application of the technologies mentioned in this article are key to modernising the industry and becoming smart and connected industries.

Only in this way, will companies be able to maintain their competitiveness, increase their productivity and generate new business models.

They must implement data management and analysis systems throughout their value chain, in assets and products, as soon as possible; facilitating an environment based on common data that allows them to improve the overall operation of the different plants that make up the company.

Nexus Integra enables the digital transformation of industry, centralising all information with maximum security and data protection.

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