Factories are increasingly digital and interconnected: the fourth industrial revolution has begun
Industry 4.0 stems from the fourth industrial revolution, the process that will lead to fully automated and interconnected industrial production. The new digital technologies, according to a report by the consulting multinational McKinsey, will have a profound impact in the four development fields: the first concerns the use of data, computing power and connectivity, and declines in big data, open data, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine and cloud computing for the centralization of information and its conservation. The second is that of analytics: once the data are collected, we need to derive its value. Today only 1% of the data collected is used by companies, which could instead get advantages from “machine learning”, ie machines that improve their yield by “learning” from the data gradually collected and analyzed. The third direction of development is the interaction between man and machine, which involves the increasingly widespread “touch” interfaces and augmented reality. Finally, there is the whole sector that deals with the transition from digital to “real” and that includes additive manufacturing, 3D printing, robotics, communications, machine-to-machine interactions and new technologies for storing and using energy in a targeted way, rationalizing costs and optimizing performance.
The industry 4.0 changes the factories
The Factory 4.0, child of the fourth industrial revolution, is composed of completely interconnected machines, which interact with each other and perform self-diagnosis and preventive maintenance. In particular, according to a report prepared by GE Digital with the independent research company Vanson Bourne, the maintenance of machinery by the machinery itself, thanks to the IoT, will exceed that of human beings by 2020 as quality, capacity and speed. progress in technological evolution will bring factories to independently predict the degree of production failure, to adopt the best prevention measures and to implement self-repair actions. Furthermore, as explained in Industry 4.0. Men and machines in the digital factory, in the Factory 4.0 the flexibility of the plants will be such as to allow to customize the products according to the individual customer. The robots will work in contact with humans and will learn naturally from humans. The workflow can be reproduced in a virtual way, so before preparing it physically in the workshop, to check its behavior in the abstract and enhance its performance. The factory will be able to obtain energy without waste and at the lowest possible cost, in a word it will be smart.