Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things - The way to the future of industry
Whatever industry you are in, no one can ignore the terms "Industry 4.0" and LoT. Like buzzwords, they buzz through the language of the working world, take root and remain anchored there. But what do they actually mean? Modern industrial jobs are significantly impacted by the new industrial revolution and digitization. Due to the fact that we also deal with these issues, we would like to explain these crucial terms to you.
On the way to Industry 4.0 - A look into the past
The term Industry 4.0 is not just a language game in the style of modern software designations. It refers to the development to which the industry is constantly subject. Just as software is constantly being updated and improved, the industry has been reinventing itself for hundreds of years. We can already look back on three industrial revolutions. Each one was a strategic and technological upheaval that transformed people and their lives. All revolutions can be found in students' history books. Industry 4.0 joins in:
The beginning: loom and steam engine
The first industrial revolution started around 1800 and initiated the development of mass production. Human work was taken over by machines and, on top of that, performed faster and more precisely. Fabrics were produced on the loom that suddenly became affordable for a broader section of the population. Production became even cheaper by using water as the primary energy source at the time. The steam engine replaced the human who had to operate the loom. Instead, a person was employed to maintain and repair the machines on several looms. Production grew and more jobs were created than would have been possible with manually operated looms.
Not only the textile industry was revolutionized by the use of machines. Automation is a constant companion and a major driver of industrial development reaching every industry. All factories worked with steam engines. Goods were transported by railroad. Steam navigation came into being and opened up new and efficient transport routes. The cornerstone for the next leap in development was laid with the loom and the steam engine.
The speed: piecework and assembly lines
The spark of the second industrial revolution was the introduction of electricity as a driving force. This development took its course at the end of the 19th century. The first automobiles were mass-produced at the beginning of the 20th century. The work in the production halls was further automated. With the introduction of the assembly line, piecework could be done. Factories produced in record time and were able to continue to grow.
New transport routes were opened up. Automobiles took over regional transport, while trains traveled internationally, ships connected continents and aviation took off.
Electrics and data transmission took their course during this time. Electricity was increasingly harnessed and people moved closer together. With telephone calls and telegrams, they could now communicate with each other over greater distances. With the telephone, workplaces have also changed. It is no coincidence that the typewriter was invented at this time. Both accelerated various work processes enormously. Globalization started during the second industrial revolution.
First digitization: computers and control programs
In 1941, Konrad Ernst Otto Zuse developed the Z3. Thanks to its development work, you can now read this article. The Z3 was the world's first working computer. It was programmable, program controlled and worked fully automatically. In 1950, Zuse rented the Z3 to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and made this model the first commercial computer. The following developments progressed more and more rapidly and have not been completed to this day.
In the 1970s, the third industrial revolution based on Zuse's development took its course. Automation was driven by programs. Large calculating machines were set up in the factories and took over the control of production. This technique is still being refined today.
Industry 4.0 - The future of production work
The fourth industrial revolution is in full swing. We are right in the middle. Anyone who has not yet gotten involved with the changes in industry should do so as soon as possible, because the course has already been set for the future of production and all other industrial areas.
The industry 4.0 goes back to a German initiative by the Bitkom industry association. He gives a name to the fourth industrial revolution. The aim of the revolution is the "Smart Factory". All machines, products and processes are networked, so that analog technologies become digital. Warehouses are getting smaller and smaller, because thanks to automation, production can be carried out according to demand. Environmental and occupational safety and the well-being of the employee are becoming the focus of the working world in production halls.
Because thanks to automation, it is possible to react quickly and flexibly to the rapid changes in the market. Trends, tastes and needs are changing faster and faster. Customized products are always in demand. Automated production can react to this without any problems. Instead of lengthy familiarization with new processes, all that is now required is code. Production runs automatically. The people are no longer part of the production, but accompany it. Now they have the chance to influence them and turn the screws. In this way, they can make production as environmentally friendly as possible. Opportunities are opening up to minimize the human impact on the environment, despite the continued growth of industrial mass production. And this can be realized worldwide, because thanks to the Internet and mobile communication, globalization has progressed far.
The Internet of Things - Drive of the future
The Internet of Things or LoT is both part of Industry 4.0 and its impetus. The term describes the connection between the virtual and the real world, which is becoming ever stronger and is already blurring the boundaries. RFID chips, QR and bar codes are part of our everyday life. The first voices are already being heard that these codes are already a thing of the past, because digital visual recognition is becoming more and more reliable. The smartphone uses its camera to recognize a product based on its shape and color and immediately provides all the important information and services. The Internet of Things is a core topic of Industry 4.0, because it can be used to network people, processes, products, materials, machines and data. This development affects not only industry, but all areas of human life. In addition to the keyword "Smart Factory" there are also "Smart Home" or "Smart City".
Industrial Internet of Things - Smart controlled processes
LoT primarily focuses on human interaction with things and convenient operation. In the course of Industry 4.0, the technologies and concepts were also made usable for industry. The "Industrial Internet of Things" (IIoT) refines the LoT with higher quality devices, reduced functions and more sensitive sensors that obtain precise information, the process control becomes smart. Efficiency, cost reduction and fast processes with the greatest possible flexibility are the goals of the IIoT. In any industry that uses networked systems, the IIoT can have a positive impact on growth and competitiveness.
Big data is a big topic for companies that want to remain future-proof. The IIoT collects large amounts of data, evaluates it in a matter of seconds and reacts immediately. If material is missing, orders are issued immediately. Workpieces are automatically passed from machine to machine and deviations are recognized immediately. In the further development of the IIoT, machines should actually become intelligent. You will be able to learn. If an error occurs, humans have to solve it. If it occurs again, the machine has learned to solve it and does not issue an error message. The boundaries between the virtual and the real world can become very blurred here, while the throughput of a factory with smart machines increases significantly.
The future is just around the corner
We are on the cusp of a future that is just beginning to take shape. Modern technological developments open doors behind which new ideas, possibilities and concepts are hidden. Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things are just the beginning. The development continues rapidly. Staying informed is definitely worth it! We'll keep you up to date!
Out of topic
The future vision of Exzellenc is to build the digital platform connecting with people who are working in metal part manufacturing of metal additive manufacturing and cnc machining services. Using the digital technology to accelerate production and save the project cost based on the high quality results.