In the years to come, intelligent and connected solutions will grow to play a more significant role in manufacturing. With connectivity at its core, it’s not just manufacturing plants, but also the supply chain, and end products that are in-line to be revolutionized. Some sources expect disruptive improvements in terms of quality, productivity and customer orientation; others are concerned with job losses, high costs for investments and data security.
Industry 4.0 describes the 4th industrial revolution after mechanization, taylorism and computerization and is related to connectivity. It was launched in Europe in 2 011 and has now come to the emerging countries as well.
Industry 4.0 is a revolution, since it has some typical features:
- It is disruptive,
- It happens very fast and
- It is not limited to a region, it happens globally
Industry 4.0 introduces the ‘smart factory‘ in which cyber-physical systems monitor the physical processes going on in the factory and make decentralized decisions. For a factory to be considered Industry 4.0, it must include interoperability, information transparency, technical assistance and decentralized decision-making. This change should translate into a machine not only detecting failures at an early stage, but also immediately ordering the spare parts it needs from the manufacturer.
The German government is investing some 200 million to encourage research across academia, business and government, and Germany isn’t the only country where advancements are taking place. In the United States, there is the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC), a non-profit organisation made up of manufacturers, suppliers, technology firms, government agencies, universities and laboratories that all have the common goal of advancing the way of thinking behind Industry 4.0.
In India, the path for Industry 4.0 is paved, Industry 4.0 will definitely contribute to Make in India – but cost effective, simple and appropriate “Indianized” solutions have to be developed. For example:
- Solutions for small companies and for the agriculture sector,
- Adaptive machining (3D-printing) for higher flexibility
- Quality monitoring in real time
Bosch is a key partner for connected production, and has already implemented several Industry 4.0 solutions in their facilities. In all the major economic regions there is a clear realization that connectivity brings a new element to global competition.
Through these approaches Industry 4.0 must create additional turnover and cost reduction. It is an opportunity to utilize the existing IT-capacities and perhaps to develop technologies for the world. Looking further into the future, value streams will become more agile. Through adaptive manufacturing, in other words, extensive utilization of 3D-printing, value streams will change to more software based. To sum up, India cannot afford to wait; it needs to speed up Connected Industry activities, but in the Indian way.