Friday, October 30, 2015

Industry 4.0 - It is about being connected

Industry 4.0 is charactered by 9 advances in technology - as a Boston Consulting Paper indicates - Big Data and Analytics, Robotics, Simulation, Horizontal and Vertical Systems Integration, Industrial Integration of Things, Cybersecurity, Additive Manufacturing, Augmented Reality and Cloud.   These technology advances summarily advance production - interaction, integration and intelligence among various component of the manufacturing ecosystems. 
The key success factor however, to achieve the three I's - is being connected. The earlier approach to manufacturing was to take up each of the functions - good receipt,  warehouse, production, dispatch - et al and optimized them.  This meant that processes like TQM, Kaizen, Just in time - were applied to each functional unit of the assembly / manufacturing line, and in many cases, automation was used to achieve better results. 
It is about being connected - Systems and Functions - Industry 4.0
However, Industry 4.0 envisages a fully connected factory - which enables same concepts being applied on the complete manufacturing value chain - thereby enabling higher levels of efficiency.  This is possible through modern technologies where each function can exchange real time information between each function.   
What is key here is that there are various systems that might be in silos - for example a warehouse management system might be found wanting in terms of actual inventory available vs a production planning schedule that might want a dynamic change in inventory due to various factors - in some cases, changes in temperature may affect the density / viscosity of a particular raw material, and that in terms will affect the input conditions of a mixer.   If the systems are interconnected, the warehouse management system could alert the warehouse operator to plan a real time change and respond to the production plan.  This helps in avoiding down-the-chain errors and thereby increasing better quality of output and helps meet production schedule as well. 
While the fact that this can be achieved real time reinforces the factor prima facie that each of these individual functions need to be connected and enabled to interact.  This is one of the key facets of Industry 4.0 
-Ashok Subramanian
(C) Cherunathury Tech Ventures


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home