When referring to Industry 4.0, a concrete fact is being pointed out that has to do with the great step forward that the Fourth Industrial Revolution has meant. The economy, production and media are changing and, from time to time, there is a striking change of paradigm. This causes that the parameters valid until that moment have to be rethought and, as a consequence, reformulate the axes that shape the real economy.
Therefore, everything that happened during the ’10s of this century –in which technological advances have been a real giant step– is leading companies to invest in the most current tools and ways of working in an environment so changing.
When the term Industry 4.0 was coined from Germany, there were few who thought that it was only one more denomination within the prevailing tendency to number the successive versions of technological programs.
However, during the last decade there has been a series of advances that, once they have been developed and implemented, have led in a natural way to the industrial landscape that has undergone the real revolution in which we are immersed. A system of great inventions that generates events that are changing society in a definitive and pragmatic way. Something that happens regardless of the scientific support base, which in itself is huge.
In that sense, since the beginning of this paradigm shift in HEXA we have opted for the training, research and implementation of the dozens of paths that have been opened through the pillars on which Industry 4.0 is based. These pillars describe the new technology that manufacturers are using to improve all areas of production processes. Next we will see a classification of them.
Thanks to collaborative robots, new avenues for automation can be opened. They are designed to perform tasks similar to those that human beings can carry out. But in addition, they are able to precisely control the details and transmit data.
Through simulations, real-time data from the physical world of product development and production processes can be entered into a virtual environment. In this way, virtual situations can be raised with the validity of the real ones. Thus, it can be verified whether the proposed approaches are valid, if they require an optimization or if they would not work if they were brought to production.
Companies have many manufacturing information systems that are not fully integrated. Through system integration, both internal and external interconnection becomes reality. This fact means that the manufacturing environment becomes more agile and that corrections can be made in real time.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
Refers to network connection and smart device connectivity. It is not used only for smartphones or computers, but for any device or machine that is capable of transmitting data. In the industry it serves to collect all kinds of data in real time and thus go making decisions at the moment.
Augmented reality based systems are increasingly present in the technology industry. Thus, for example, instructions for a remote repair can be sent in real time to anywhere in the world. In this way, savings in training and their corresponding investment in time and economic resources are achieved in those workers who do not have specific knowledge about the problem to be solved.
Also known as 3D printing, it consists in the manufacture of parts by superimposing layers of a material to obtain a 3D model. It does not require molds or tools. It serves to reduce costs in the production of short series and for the creation of prototypes.
Production-related tasks are increasingly based on the use of applications and data shared in the cloud. Thanks to this progress, it is not necessary to have so many physical servers in the company. The correct optimization of the use of cloud computing allows enormous economic, time and efficiency savings, a key in Industry 4.0.
With a hyperconnected industry like the current one, the chances of a cyberattack in the company is growing, as is known in the media almost daily. The damage, not only economic, that can be suffered is very important. To avoid this, it is critical that companies condition and protect their information and production systems from potential threats.
Big Data and data analysis
One of the great treasures that the industry has is the huge amount of data it has and, however, in most cases it is not able to handle and take advantage of them. That is why one of the most profitable investments that an industrial company can make at the moment is in Big Data specialists. Professionals who are able to save a data management system and the analytics derived from them. If, as they say, information is power, knowledge of a company’s data universe opens new horizons for its business.