Fourth Industrial Revolution
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (or Industry 4.0) is the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices, using modern smart technology. Large-scale machine-to-machine communication (M2M) and the internet of things (IoT) are integrated for increased automation, improved communication and self-monitoring, and production of smart machines that can analyze and diagnose issues without the need for human intervention.
Before the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The first industrial revolution was marked by a transition from hand production methods to machines through the use of steam power and water power. The implementation of new technologies took a long time, so the period which this refers to it is between 1760 and 1820, or 1840 in Europe and the US. Its effects had consequences on textile manufacturing, which was first to adopt such changes, as well as iron industry, agriculture, and mining although it also had societal effects with an ever stronger middle class. It also had an effect on British industry at the time.
The second industrial revolution or better known as the technological revolution is the period between 1870 and 1914. It was made possible with the extensive railroad networks and the telegraph which allowed for faster transfer of people and ideas. It is also marked by ever more present electricity which allowed for factory electrification and the modern production line. It is also a period of great economic growth, with an increase in productivity. It, however, caused a surge in unemployment since many workers were replaced by machines in factories.
The third industrial revolution occurred in the late 20th century, after the end of the two world wars, as a result of a slowdown with the industrialization and technological advancement compared to previous periods. It is also called Digital Revolution. The global financial crisis in 1929, followed by The Great Depression, affected many industrialized countries, following the first two revolutions. The production of z1 was the beginning of more advanced digital developments. This continued with the next significant progress in the development of communication technologies with the supercomputer. In this process, where there was extensive use of computer and communication technologies in the production process. Machinery began to abrogate the need for human power.
The phrase Fourth Industrial Revolution was first introduced by Klaus Schwab, the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, in a 2015 article in Foreign Affairs, “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution” was the theme of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2016 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. On October 10, 2016, the Forum announced the opening of its Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco. This was also subject and title of Schwab’s 2016 book. Schwab includes in this fourth era technologies that combine hardware, software, and biology (cyber-physical systems), and emphasizes advances in communication and connectivity. Schwab expects this era to be marked by breakthroughs in emerging technologies in fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, the internet of things, the industrial internet of things (IIoT), decentralized consensus, fifth-generation wireless technologies (5G), 3D printing and fully autonomous vehicles.
The term “Industrie 4.0”, shortened to I4.0 or simply I4, originated in 2011 from a project in the high-tech strategy of the German government, which promotes the computerization of manufacturing. The term “Industrie 4.0” was publicly introduced in the same year at the Hannover Fair. In October 2012 the Working Group on Industry 4.0 presented a set of Industry 4.0 implementation recommendations to the German federal government. The Industry 4.0 workgroup members and partners are recognized as the founding fathers and driving force behind Industry 4.0. On 8 April 2013 at the Hannover Fair, the final report of the Working Group Industry 4.0 was presented. This working group was headed by Siegfried Dais (Robert Bosch GmbH) and Henning Kagermann (German Academy of Science and Engineering).
As Industry 4.0 principles have been applied by companies they have sometimes been re-branded, for example the aerospace parts manufacturer Meggitt PLC has branded its own Industry 4.0 research project M4.
The characteristics given for the German government’s Industry 4.0 strategy are: the strong customization of products under the conditions of highly flexible (mass-) production. The required automation technology is improved by the introduction of methods of self-optimization, self-configuration, self-diagnosis, cognition and intelligent support of workers in their increasingly complex work. The largest project in Industry 4.0 as of July 2013 is the BMBF leading-edge cluster “Intelligent Technical Systems Ostwestfalen-Lippe (it’s OWL)”. Another major project is the BMBF project RES-COM, as well as the Cluster of Excellence “Integrative Production Technology for High-Wage Countries”. In 2015, the European Commission started the international Horizon 2020 research project CREMA (Providing Cloud-based Rapid Elastic Manufacturing based on the XaaS and Cloud model) as a major initiative to foster the Industry 4.0 topic.
Design principles and goals
There are four design principles. These principles support companies in identifying and implementing scenarios.
- Interconnection: The ability of machines, devices, sensors, and people to connect and communicate with each other via the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of People (IoP)
- Information transparency: The transparency afforded by Industry 4.0 technology provides operators with vast amounts of useful information needed to make appropriate decisions. Inter-connectivity allows operators to collect immense amounts of data and information from all points in the manufacturing process, thus aiding functionality and identifying key areas that can benefit from development and improvement.
- Technical assistance: The ability of the systems to assist humans in decision making and problem solving and the ability to help humans with tasks that are too difficult or unsafe.
- Decentralized decisions: The ability of cyber physical systems to make decisions on their own and to perform their tasks as autonomously as possible. Only in the case of exceptions, interferences, or conflicting goals, are tasks delegated to a higher level.
Components of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The fourth industrial revolution consists of many components when looking closely into our society and current digital trends. To understand how extensive these components are, here are some contributing digital technologies as examples:
- Mobile devices
- Internet of Things (IoT) platforms
- Location detection technologies
- Advanced human-machine interfaces
- Authentication and fraud detection
- 3D printing
- Smart sensors
- Big analytics and advanced processes
- Multilevel customer interaction and customer profiling
- Augmented reality/ wearables
- Fog, Edge and on-demand availability of computer system resources
- Data visualization and triggered “live” training
Mainly these technologies can be summarized into four major components, defining the term “Industry 4.0” or “smart factory”:
With the help of cyber-physical systems that monitor physical processes, a virtual copy of the physical world can be designed. Thus, these systems have the ability of making decentralized decisions on their own and reach a high degree of autonomy (for more information, see “Industry 4.0 characteristics). As a result, Industry 4.0 networks a wide range of new technologies to create value.
What all these components have in common, is that Data and Analytics are their core capabilities, driven by:
Digitization and integration of vertical and horizontal value chains
Vertically, Industry 4.0 integrates processes across the entire organization for example processes in product development, manufacturing, structuring and service whereas horizontally, Industry 4.0 includes internal operations from suppliers to customers plus all key value chain partners.
Digitization of product and service offerings
Integrating new methods of data collection and analysis for example through the expansion of existing products or creation of new digitised products, helps companies to generate data on product use and thus, to refine products in order to meet best the customers’ needs.
Digital business models and customer access
Reaching customer satisfaction is a multi-stage, never-ending process that needs to be modified currently as customers’ needs change all the time. Therefore, companies expand their offerings by establishing disruptive digital business models to provide their customers digital solutions that meet their needs best.
Biggest trends of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
In essence, the fourth industrial revolution is the trend towards automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and processes which include cyber-physical systems (CPS), the internet of things (IoT), industrial internet of things (IIOT), cloud computing, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence.
The fourth industrial revolution fosters what has been called a “smart factory”. Within modular structured smart factories, cyber-physical systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralized decisions. Over the internet of things, cyber-physical systems communicate and cooperate with each other and with humans in synchronic time both internally and across organizational services offered and used by participants of the value chain.
Industry 4.0 can also provide predictive maintenance, due to the use of technology and the IoT sensors. Predictive maintenance – which can identify maintenance issues in live – allows machine owners to perform cost-effective maintenance and determine it ahead of time before the machinery fails or gets damaged. For example, a company in LA could understand if a piece of equipment in Singapore is running at an abnormal speed or temperature. They could then decide whether or not it needs to be repaired.
The fourth industrial revolution is said to have extensive dependency on 3D printing technology. Some advantages of 3D printing for industry are that 3D printing can print many geometric structures, as well as simplify the product design process. It is also relatively environmentally friendly. In low-volume production, it can also decrease lead times and total production costs. Moreover, it can increase flexibility, reduce warehousing costs and help the company towards the adoption of a mass customization business strategy. In addition, 3D printing can be very useful for printing spare parts and installing it locally, therefore reducing supplier dependence and reducing the supply lead time.
The determining factor is the pace of change. The correlation of the speed of technological development and, as a result, socio-economic and infrastructural transformations with human life allow us to state a qualitative leap in the speed of development, which marks a transition to a new time era.
Sensors and instrumentation are nowdays driving the central forces of innovation, not only for Industry 4.0, but also for other “smart ” megatrends, such as smart production, smart mobility, smart home, smart city and smart factory.
Smart sensors are devices, which generate the data and allow further functionality from self-monitoring and self-configuration to condition monitoring of complex processes. With the capability of wireless communication, they reduce installation effort to a great extent and help realize a dense array of sensors.
The importance of sensors, measurement science, and smart evaluation for Industry 4.0 has been recognized and acknowledged by various experts and has already led to the statement “Industry 4.0: nothing goes without sensor systems”
However, there are few issues, such as time synchronization error, data loss, and dealing with large amounts of harvested data, which all limit the implementation of full-fledged systems. Moreover, additional limits on these functionalities represents the battery power. One example of the integration of smart sensors in the electronic devices, is the case of smart watches, where sensors receive the data from the movement of the user, process the data and as a result, provide the user with the information about his or hers steps made in a day, and additionally, convert them into burned calories.
Scope of application:
Agriculture and food industry:
Smart sensors in these two fields are still in the testing stage.
These innovative connected sensors collect, interpret and communicate the information available in the plots (leaf area, vegetation index, chlorophyll, hygrometry, temperature, water potential, radiation). Based on this scientific data, the objective is to enable real-time monitoring via a smartphone with a range of advice that optimizes plot management in terms of results, time and costs. On the farm, these sensors can be used to detect crop stages and recommend inputs and treatments at the right time. As well as controlling the level of irrigation.
In the food industry: This industry requires more and more security and transparency and full documentation is required. This new technology is used as a tracking system as well as the collection of human data as well as product data.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution marks the beginning of the imagination age
Challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Challenges in implementation of Industry 4.0:
- High economic costs
- Business model adaptation
- Unclear economic benefits/excessive investment
- Privacy concerns
- Surveillance and distrust
- General reluctance to change by stakeholders
- Threat of redundancy of the corporate IT department
- Loss of many jobs to automatic processes and IT-controlled processes, especially for blue collar workers
- Lack of regulation, standards and forms of certifications
- Unclear legal issues and data security
- IT security issues, which are greatly aggravated by the inherent need to open up those previously closed production shops
- Reliability and stability needed for critical machine-to-machine communication (M2M), including very short and stable latency times
- Need to maintain the integrity of production processes
- Need to avoid any IT snags, as those would cause expensive production outages
- Need to protect industrial know-how (contained also in the control files for the industrial automation gear)
- Lack of adequate skill-sets to expedite the transition towards the fourth industrial revolution
- Low top management commitment
- Insufficient qualification of employees
The aerospace industry has sometimes been characterized as “too low volume for extensive automation” however Industry 4.0 principles have been investigated by several aerospace companies, technologies have been developed to improve productivity where the upfront cost of automation cannot be justified, one example of this is the aerospace parts manufacturer Meggitt PLC‘s project, M4.
The increasing use of the Industrial Internet of Things is referred to as Industry 4.0 at Bosch, and generally in Germany. Applications include machines that can predict failures and trigger maintenance processes autonomously or self-organized coordination that react to unexpected changes in production.
- Computer-integrated manufacturing
- Digital modeling and fabrication
- Industrial control system
- Intelligent Maintenance Systems
- Lights-out manufacturing
- Machine to machine
- Cyber manufacturing
- Work 4.0
- World Economic Forum 2016
- Simulation software
- The War on Normal People
- List of emerging technologies