Automation and productivity
Productivity improvement is one of the major benefits from Industry 4.0 solutions. Industry 4.0 involves the use of advancements in communication and information technology to increase the degree of automation and digitisation of production, manufacturing and industrial processes.
Much of the technology for Industry 4.0 is already in place, and through the smart use of pilot projects and step-by-step iterative changes in manufacturing platforms and operations, we can determine the best ways to make Industry 4.0 deliver on the promise it offers. During the next five to ten years, Industry 4.0 will be embraced by more companies, boosting productivity across all manufacturing sectors. Productivity improvements on conversion costs, which exclude the cost of materials, will range from 15 to 25 percent.
When the materials costs are factored in, productivity gains of 5 to 8 percent will be achieved. These improvements will vary by industry. Industrial-component manufacturers stand to achieve some of the biggest productivity improvements, that may go up to 20 percent.
Skills required for engineers
What’s needed most is for IT experts to gain insight into essential production processes so that they can identify how software solutions can best improve performance. For this reason, we are training IT experts in lean production and the Bosch production system principles.
Big Data: There is an urgent need of specialists who are not only familiar with products and production lines but are also able to analyze huge quantities of data. There are new job opportunities who would use existing data to gain additional insights that are not yet available in many places(e.g. -correlations between individual steps in the production process) and to forecast future trends on the basis of historical data (e.g. malfunctions, scrap rates). This suddenly gives production planners the ability to proactively prevent problems instead of constantly being derailed by unforeseen problems and the urgent solutions they require.
One of the key aspects of Industry 4.0 thought process / guiding principle for us is to put more focus on the people who work in industry. All the solutions we have developed follow this principle. For example, data analytics is automatically looking for patterns in the data from production lines and then generating notifications for the production planner; instead of him having to proactively monitor production data.
Engineering skill sets would be clarified in coming years, but soft skills would emerge as an important aspect of engineers. Collaboration among different disciplines is of paramount importance in Industry 4.0.