Monthly Archives: June 2019

The power of Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things in manufacturing

The power of Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things in manufacturing

Category : Blogs

The power of Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things in manufacturing

Industry 4.0, the fourth Industrial Revolution, the Internet of Things and the Internet of Services are among the most commonly used terms to describe the accelerating intelligent connections among people, products, equipment, services, things and the data generated during production and throughout the entire lifecycle of the product.

The term “Industry 4.0” continues to garner worldwide discussion. Beginning with the German government’s involvement, this public-private partnership supports the next revolution in manufacturing – creating decentralized, autonomous real-time production.

But what does that really mean? The core of Industry 4.0 is about creating adaptive, agile manufacturing networks. Industry 4.0 envisions the ability to harness intelligence from production while using connections from the objects being built to the people and machines building them – all to accelerate innovation, quality and efficiency. The virtual design and simulation of products must connect to the intelligence gathered during manufacturing, but it goes beyond that.

Demands from the current society – including trending preferences and customers’ experiences while using products – require manufacturers to listen to the products themselves, understand the consumers’ trending voices and predict shifts in market preference.

The orchestration of all of these pieces requires an infrastructure with unique capabilities. The Industry 4.0 initiative defines what manufacturers need and what operational changes are required to be successful in the next generation of industrial production.

This blog series is dedicated to helping strategic manufacturers understand and prepare themselves to be leaders in this next leap forward in manufacturing innovation.

The Internet of Things and Industry 4.0

The terms “Internet of Things” and “Industry 4.0” are hot topics, and they continue to spark global conversations around what they are and how they’ll affect us personally and professionally.

Some people assume that the Internet of Things is a subset of Industry 4.0, but that isn’t the case. The Internet of Things relates to Industry 4.0, but they aren’t the same thing: the consumer version is pushing the industry version, in all of its complexity, forward much more quickly than we realize.

The Internet of Things in manufacturing. The Internet of Things, or the IoT, is an abstract concept about the interconnectedness of physical things that have their own intelligence.

For example, my car can talk to me and tell me when it needs an oil change, and it can make an appointment on my calendar with my dealer for a checkup at the same time. Or, my home heating system texts me and says the weather is getting cooler, and unless I get it serviced within the next three days, it won’t work.

These types of intelligent network of “things” are becoming reality – and more quickly than we realize. With the IoT impacting our everyday world, manufacturing thought leaders are gaining attention as they apply the same concepts to their industry.

If we have the ability to avoid running out of oil, or if we have the ability to know when to repair one of our heating units before it breaks down, why can’t manufacturing companies have systems that automatically replenish, provide real-time feedback and avoid failures?

With the Internet of Things in manufacturing, they can.

The connectivity of the IoT has become a driving force of Industry 4.0. The realization that a machine or system can catch and prevent human errors on a daily basis has led to greater scrutiny of how to rethink supply chain complexity, and to create the infrastructure that supports the intelligence of the things in those networks.

Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things. Industry 4.0 makes manufacturing industries as modern as our personal lives. It focuses on the support that this next generation of intelligent manufacturingneeds to be successful.

Today, connections are made among products as they are produced. The connections involve the equipment producing these products, the real-time feedback on product performance in the field, the changes in consumer preferences and the virtual world of the product design and simulation.

The manufacturers who will win in this next industrial revolution will have to harness the intelligencebeing produced in real time to get innovation at higher quality to market – faster than their competitors. That’s what is pushing the urgency of Industry 4.0 – fundamental market competition, which equates to revenue growth and profitability.

This concludes the first part of our blog series on Industry 4.0’s relationship with the Internet of Things. Our next posts will look at key concepts innovative manufacturers must think about as they move their organizations forward in this next industrial revolution. 

By the Author – Alastair Orchard


Industry 4.0 Automation

Manufacturing innovation requirements in Industry 4.0

Category : Blogs

Manufacturing innovation requirements in Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is quickly becoming the new reality in the market, and every innovative manufacturer must embrace it to stay competitive. To achieve full manufacturing innovation, businesses must be able to define what they need and the required operational changes to stay successful in the next phase of industrial production design.

But what, exactly, will Industry 4.0 require from your business?

As smart machines, materials and products begin to proliferate, so does the data they produce. How should innovative manufacturers prepare themselves to harness this data and these intelligent networks to be more competitive, more responsive and more agile?

In this series, we will address six key capabilities that will become even more critical for your manufacturing business as Industry 4.0 becomes your reality: speed, advanced automation, connection, insight, effective action and agility.

Manufacturing innovation requirement #1: Speed

Speed is one of the most critical factors determining today’s market leadership. Companies that get their innovations to market more quickly than the competition will capture greater market share. For manufacturers, speed must always be coupled with quality. But the increasing complexity of processes with increased data inputs and decision criteria create added barriers to speed.

Where are we seeing these manufacturing innovation barriers most?

New product introduction (NPI). The growing power of consumer preference is driving the proliferation of customized features. Even with the added complexity for NPI, companies will simultaneously face growing pressure to shorten time to market.

Engineering and component changes. Speed means companies must react quickly to both after-market feedback and complex supply chain changes and interruptions as they attempt to shorten the cycle time for engineering changes.

Cost optimization. Continuing optimization to remain cost competitive requires quick detection and response to fluctuations in supply alternatives and market prices.

Quality issue resolution. Anticipating potential quality issues before they happen will require continued monitoring of the intelligence of every node on the intelligent network.

Industry 4.0 anticipates that our already complex products, processes and supply chains will multiply in complexity with the exponential growth of intelligent data streams into the mix. With supply chains more complex than ever, getting faster at the same time requires a different paradigm – driving the urgency of agile and adaptive manufacturing networks. That requires an infrastructure with specific characteristics.

Manufacturing innovation requirement #2: Advanced automation

So far, we’ve discussed how speed for the industries driving innovation will become even more critical as Industry 4.0 becomes a reality. Now, we must discuss automation and its evolution in the fourth Industrial Revolution.

We’ve seen some manufacturing industry analysts say that automation will be the nirvana of total connection and intelligence. Unfortunately, that is simply not practical. While automation continues to advance, cells of automation networks still require orchestration.

To achieve manufacturing innovation in Industry 4.0, manufacturers will have to invest in smart, Industrial Internet of Things-enabled machines and controls; these machines and controls should allow equipment to provide real-time information on processes and their condition – for example, up, down, supply needs or quality problems.

If we consider that devices, materials, components and products will also be intelligent, automation will become networked across plants and the supply chain. This will generate new feedback channels, error reduction capabilities and real-time awareness of quality and upstream and downstream conditions that affect the entire production line.

Yet creating a completely automated end-to-end system in iteration 1 is not realistic. That’s where the Enterprise Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is still the central brain, orchestrating signals across areas of automation.

Even beyond production, intelligence from these orchestrated automation networks will feed into improvement cycles, engineering changes and the next product lifecycle. It will bridge the gap between engineering and manufacturing – closing the loop across product development and the factory floor.

What is the promise of this new intelligent automation network? With more intelligent processes orchestrated by the Enterprise MES, the leap forward in efficiency feeds production speeds with far fewer resources and at a higher quality.

Making that promise a reality requires rethinking the orchestration of the network of automation in Industry 4.0.

This concludes our initial look at the capabilities that will be more crucial for your manufacturing innovation as Industry 4.0 progresses. We will continue exploring these capabilities in the next part of our series.

By the Author – Alastair Orchard


Industry 4.0 manufacturing and your future business

Industry 4.0 manufacturing and your future business

Category : Blogs

Industry 4.0 manufacturing and your future business

Creating networks that can adapt and respond to change will be a critical part of manufacturers’ processes if they want to retain success in Industry 4.0.

As we move into this new era of Industry 4.0 manufacturing, manufacturers must also be able to incorporate the Internet of Things throughout its processes. As you move into the new Industrial Revolution, you must have the capabilities and tools to help you learn from your products while they’re in the field, and you need to ensure you can include your customers’ voices and trends so you can eventually predict shifts in the market.

In this series, we’ve discussed some of the capabilities pioneering manufacturers will need to have to retain their competitive edge in Industry 4.0 manufacturing. We now turn to how effective action and agility should be included in these capabilities.

Effective action. We’ve covered how innovative companies will need technology that can harness Big Data to deliver a deep understanding of how to improve products, operate more efficiently and drive innovation. These are all important when working with Industry 4.0 manufacturing.

Insight allows for better decision making. But decisions alone do not produce results.

Your company must take swift, coordinated and confident action. The vision of Industry 4.0 is that routine activity can occur by using the Industrial Internet of Things for materials, machines and products with little human interaction. In addition, the “digital thread” of information from point to point gives us information about end-product quality.

However, the unplanned and unexpected will require innovative responses and change that create a competitive advantage. The required timeliness of action in Industry 4.0 is a key benchmark.

Can you leverage your analytics to take action before failures occur?

Can you understand a thread of activities that lead to a sub-optimal outcome?

Can you predict failures before injury or damage?

Can you ultimately move from “recall” to “pre-call?”

You must be able to use the intelligence from your networks to make the best decision you can at the earliest possible moment. But you must go beyond using the information to choose the best action: you must use your intelligent network to monitor and verify how effective that action is.

It’s a responsive feedback loop across many nodes on the network. Is the action producing the desired correction or prevention? What evidence do you have that the action you took will solve the problem in its entirety? Are there additional actions that need to follow?

The manufacturers that can leverage their new intelligent networks to take the swiftest, most appropriate actions, and to verify effectiveness, will protect and build their brand in Industry 4.0.

Agility. The final key capability innovative companies will require in this era of Industry 4.0 manufacturing is agility.

Agility anchors every other capability we’ve discussed. Agility means having the ability to quickly respond to rapid change. No matter what the configuration of the global or local enterprise looks like, you will compete with companies that have different configurations.

Many companies now strive to design, build and deliver products anywhere to enable faster local response with standardized and effective processes. Some companies are moving to local production. Others are closing smaller plants to create highly flexible mega-plants that can build a wider array of products with economies of scale.

In this complex global undertaking, companies must control the flow of products and information. Insight must be just as available in one place as it is in another, no matter where the physical nodes of the intelligent network reside.

Effective action requires not only analytics, but the delivery of information to plant-wide and enterprise-level decision makers, an infrastructure for rapid collaboration and the communication of the action to elicit an immediate network-wide response.

The communication is a networked feedback loop. Information is delivered to the required decision-makers to collaborate on the decision, and the resulting action is expedited back to the entire intelligent network where its effectiveness is confirmed. The agile manufacturer can absorb the action and rapidly reconfigure for the required action.

Operational agility goes hand-in-hand with innovation delivery. Both must occur to achieve market leadership. The ability for an enterprise to make better decisions more rapidly, and control the rapid response of its operations more swiftly than the competition will be a critical capability in Industry 4.0.

This concludes our look at the key capabilities companies will need to retain innovation in Industry 4.0 manufacturing. In our next part, we discuss the value chain of Industry 4.0 and why your old MES will die in Industry 4.0.

By the AuthorAlastair Orchard