Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 refers to a new phase of the industrial revolution that focuses on interconnection, automation, machine learning, and real-time data. Industry 4.0, sometimes referred to as IIoT or smart manufacturing, combines physical manufacturing and operations with smart digital technology, machine learning and big-data to create a more complete and better-integrated ecosystem for companies focused on manufacturing and supply chain management. Although every company and organization operating today is different, they all face a common challenge - the need for connectivity and access to real-time insights through processes, partners, products and people. 4th industrial revolution

Industry development from 1.0 to 4.0

There are four different industrial revolutions that the world has encountered or is facing:

The first industrial revolution

The first industrial revolution took place between the late 1700s and the early 1800s. During this period, production evolved from focusing on manual labor performed by humans and with the help of working animals, to a more optimized form of labor performed by humans using water and steam-powered machines and other types of machine tools.

The second industrial revolution

In the early 20th century, the world entered a second industrial revolution with the introduction of steel and the use of electricity in factories. The introduction of electricity has allowed manufacturers to increase efficiency and helped make factory machines more mobile. During this phase, mass production concepts such as production line as a way to increase productivity were introduced.

The third industrial revolution

Beginning in the late 1950s, the third industrial revolution slowly began to develop as manufacturers began to incorporate more electronic and eventually computer technology into their factories. During this period, manufacturers began to experience a shift that placed less emphasis on analog and mechanical technology, and more on digital technology and automation software.

The fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0

The fourth industrial revolution, known as Industry 4.0, has emerged in recent decades. Industry 4.0 puts the emphasis on digital technology from the last decades on a whole new level with the help of interconnection via the Internet of Things (IoT), access to real-time data and the introduction of cyber-physical systems. Industry 4.0 offers a more comprehensive, interconnected and holistic approach to manufacturing. It connects the physical with the digital and enables better collaboration and access to departments, partners, suppliers, products and people. Industry 4.0 allows business owners to better control and understand every aspect of their work, and it also provides them with current data to increase productivity, improve processes, and drive growth.


Basic IIoT concepts and glossary

IIot stands for Industrial Internet of Things

There are hundreds of concepts and terms related to IIoT and Industry 4.0, but here are 12 basic words and phrases you need to know before you decide if you want to invest in 4.0 solutions for your business:

IoT: IoT stands for Internet of Things, a concept that refers to connections between physical objects such as sensors or machines and the Internet.

IIoT: IIoT stands for Industrial Internet of Things, a concept that refers to the connections between people, data and machines in relation to production.

Big data: Large data refers to large sets of structured or unstructured data that can be compiled, stored, organized, and analyzed to reveal patterns, trends, associations, and opportunities.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): Artificial intelligence is a concept that refers to the ability of a computer to perform tasks and make decisions that would historically require some level of human intelligence.

M2M: This refers to machine-to-machine, and communication that occurs between two separate machines over wireless or wired networks.

Digitization: Digitization refers to the process of collecting and converting different types of information into a digital format.

Smart Factory: A smart factory is one that invests and uses Industry 4.0 technology, solutions, and approaches.

Machine learning: Machine learning refers to the ability that computers must learn and improve on their own with artificial intelligence, without being explicitly told or programmed.

Cloud Computing: Cloud computing refers to the practice of using interconnected remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data.

Real-time data processing: Real-time data processing refers to the ability of computer systems and machines to continuously and automatically process data and provide outputs and insights in or near real time.

Ecosystem: An ecosystem, in terms of production, refers to the potential connection of your entire business - inventory and planning, finance, customer relations, supply chain management and production execution.

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS): Cyber-physical systems, sometimes referred to as cyber manufacturing, refers to a production environment enabled by Industry 4.0 that offers real-time data collection, analysis, and transparency of data in all aspects of manufacturing.


Cases of using smart manufacturing

Smart manufacturing

One of the best ways to better understand the concept of smart manufacturing is to think about how it can be applied to business or to a certain task. Here are three use cases that can help you understand the value of Industry 4.0 in the manufacturing process:

Supply Chain Management and Optimization

Solutions 4.0 provides companies with greater insight, control and visibility of data throughout the supply chain. By taking advantage of supply chain management capabilities, companies can deliver products and services to the market faster, cheaper, and better to gain an advantage over less efficient competitors.


Predictive Maintenance / Analytics

4.0 solutions offer manufacturers the ability to predict when potential problems will occur before they actually occur. Without the IoT systems installed in your factory, preventive maintenance takes place on a routine or time basis. In other words, it is a manual task. With built-in IoT systems, preventive maintenance is much more automated and simplified. Systems can sense when problems arise or machines need to be repaired and can encourage you to solve potential problems before they become major problems. Predictive analytics allows companies to not just ask reactive questions like "what happened?" Or “why did it happen?”, But also proactive questions like “what will happen” and “what can we do to prevent this from happening?” This type of analytics can allow manufacturers to turn preventative maintenance into predictive maintenance.


Asset Tracking and Optimization

Solutions 4.0 help manufacturers become more efficient with assets at every stage of the supply chain, giving them a better pulse in terms of inventory, quality and logistics optimization capabilities. With IoT in the factory, employees can get better visibility of their assets in multiple locations. Standard asset management tasks, such as asset transfer, disposal, reclassification and adjustment, can be directed and managed centrally and in real time.


Advantages of adopting the Industry 4.0 model

Industry 4.0 encompasses the entire product life cycle and supply chain - design, sales, inventory, scheduling, quality, engineering and customer service in the field. They all share informed, up-to-date, relevant views on production and business processes - and much richer and timely analytics.

Here is a short, non-exhaustive list of some of the benefits of adopting Model 4.0 for your business:

  • It makes you more competitive. As companies like Amazon continue to optimize logistics and supply chain management, you need to invest in technology and solutions that help you improve and optimize your own work. To stay competitive, you need to have systems and processes in place that will allow you to provide the same level of service (or better) to your customers and clients that you could get from a company like Amazon.
  • It makes you more attractive to a younger workforce. Companies investing in modern, innovative Industry 4.0 technologies are better positioned to attract and retain new workers.
  • It makes your team stronger and emphasizes collaboration. Companies investing in 4.0 solutions can increase efficiency, strengthen collaboration between departments, enable predictive and prescriptive analytics, and enable people, including operators, managers, and CEOs, to take full advantage of real-time data and intelligence to make better decisions as they manage their day-day responsibilities.
  • Allows you to solve potential problems before they become big problems. Predictive analytics, real-time data, Internet-connected machines, and automation can help you be more proactive in solving and resolving potential supply chain maintenance and management problems.
  • Allows you to reduce costs, increase profits and increase fuel. Industry 4.0 technology helps manage and optimize all aspects of your manufacturing processes and supply chain. It gives you access to the real-time data and insights you need to make smarter and faster business decisions, which can ultimately increase the efficiency and profitability of your entire business.


Industry implementation Challenges 4.0

 Some of the most common questions most business owners think about when it comes to introducing smart manufacturing:

Will our business and customer data be secure?

As the threat of cyber-hacking continues to intensify each year, many companies worry that investing in cloud-based technology and moving data behind their own hardware will leave their business and data sensitive. Cloud-based software keeps data secure using deep security expertise and enforcing rigorous cybersecurity measures for all customers investing in Industry 4.0 technology.

Will I be able to get the support of my team?

The short answer to this question is yes. While the introduction of new technology and a new business model may be difficult for some to accept and adopt, you can ultimately get support from your team by clearly setting expectations in advance, stating the purpose and benefits of investing in Industry 4.0 technology and being open and transparent with your team throughout the implementation process.

Do we have the resources and staff to implement and manage this technology?

When you invest in cloud-based technology, you don’t have to rely so much on your IT system to manage and maintain the system. Instead, you benefit from regular updates and maintenance performed by your service provider. For example, to avoid the ongoing implementation and upgrade challenges that ERP has historically posed, some companies choose ERP or cloud-based software as a service (SaaS).

As with Cloud storage, the cloud ERP provider assumes the costs borne by IT to build and maintain the infrastructure. A cloud-based ERP system provides all the benefits of ERP without the need for dedicated IT infrastructure or staff and frees up these resources for use in other IT tasks.

Will I be able to use the data to make more informed decisions?

Yes! The software you choose can provide you with the knowledge, training, and documentation you need to understand how to use data to change, improve, and grow your business.

To build a sustainable, scalable enterprise in today’s business environment, you need to use tools that help you streamline tasks, increase productivity and collaboration, and leverage real-time data.


How can MachineDesk help you with the transition to Industry 4.0?

SaaS software solution in Cloud for project management in machining


MachineDesk, the SaaS system in the Cloud, is software for managing the entire production process intended for machining companies. This system allows you to monitor, manage and control all the company's processes and resources, from one place at any time. MachineDesk is a system that contains several modules that enable better communication and transfer of information, monitoring of results and processes, and complete digitalization of business.

Project management module - includes lists of projects and tasks by locations, machines and people. MachineDesk as a complete solution covers all areas of project implementation: from planning, procurement, execution, monitoring to completion.

Warehouse management module - secure supply assessment, timely ordering of resources and production without downtime. Monitoring the movement of resources through the warehouse and reviewing the state of the warehouse saves time and money and enables a smooth flow of production.

Machine park management module - simple production planning, maximum machine utilization and higher productivity. Insight and availability of machines by location facilitates production planning, efficiency control and significantly simplifies the production process.

Employee management module - reduces paperwork and provides detailed insight into employee profiles and makes it easier to choose the right person for a particular job. It facilitates communication between workers and superiors and workers in opposite shifts and enables an overview of all details and certificates of employees in one place.

Analytics and reporting module - systematized data collection, data management, knowledge and analysis, bring a better understanding of business, cost optimization and creation of new opportunities. With the help of analytics, Gantt charts and reporting systems, an overview of relevant data is realized in real-time, the flow of production and business results are monitored, which enables the timely flow of information within the company.


In step with the digital revolution and Industry 4.0

With the advent of new, digital technologies, now is an exciting time for the manufacturing industry. The wave of new technologies creates an opportunity for companies to take steps towards greater flexibility, sustainability and productivity. Industry 4.0 also provides new ways for people and machines to work together, empowering companies to gain better insights, reduce the risk of error, and make better decisions.

Ultimately, Industry 4.0 should come to life in the manufacturing ecosystem. But only by understanding and leveraging the technologies that drive Industry 4.0 will manufacturers stay on top of this new digital era.

Klara Markotić
Content Creator at MachineDesk with a particular interest in marketing and social media.