The concept of Industry 4.0 was born a decade ago. Since then, it has been frequently discussed, sometimes without really understanding what is hiding behind these terms… We will try to explain the concept and how Mobapi technology is participating in this movement.

Welcome to the era of Industry 4.0

A new industrial revolution

Also known by the terms “Industry of the future,” “Connected factory,” or “Smart Factory”, Industry 4.0 corresponds to the 4th industrial revolution, after the appearance of the steam engine (1784), production lines (1870), and automation (1969).

This revolution puts new technologies at the heart of industrial processes with the goal of offering safer and higher-performing production and reducing energy consumption and labor costs

According to a McKinsey study, industry 4.0 will allow companies to save 630 billion dollars between now and 2025.

Two worlds are finally meeting: the digital innovations of the 21st century are integrating into the world of industrial machines to supplement existing processes. 

Innovations adapted to your factory’s needs 

There has been no shortage of digital innovations in the last 30 years, but this decade is distinguished by considerable advances which are designing the future of the industry. These new technologies, adapted to current industrial problems, aim to make the factory more intelligent and better-connected.

  • Robotics have revamped the activities of workers by allowing them to avoid repetitive tasks without added value,
  • 3D printing can be used to created complex and personalized parts for each client,
  • Remote maintenance is facilitated by augmented reality,
  • Connected devices bring the connectivity that machines were lacking,
  • Big Data allows us to organize and analyze all collected data in order to optimize preventative maintenance and move toward predictive maintenance,
  • Artificial intelligence has added value to all these technologies, allowing them to move further and faster.

Tomorrow’s factory will be an autonomous production system integrating electronics and software, associated to sensors capable of communicating. Production will finally be flexible, efficient, and ecological. It can remain competitive when faced with international competition.

The modernization of industry as we know it implies the inclusion of several variables, both human and technical, that are necessary to understand.  

The challenges of Industry 4.0 

Human challenges

Any transition will inevitably involve resistance to change. It is therefore important to accompany the operational teams who will be the first users of the new technologies deployed. Educational support and trainings are certainly necessary.

The proof of concept (POC) can also be a first step in validating solutions by operational teams and by management. In this case, it is essential to review progress, to push teams to think about the benefits of the solution, and to measure adoption of new systems as the key factor of success. This is what we have done with our partner, EDF Guyane.

Technical challenges

At the center of industry 4.0 initiatives, we include the important work of collecting and consolidating production data, which has become complex due to various protocols being used. Industrials must deal with diversity in their machinery park, which largely complicates the collection and usage of data. How can we communicate between all these very different systems, designed during different time periods, which were not intended to work together?  

17 years. This is the average age of a machine-tools park in France. 

Collecting data is the crux needed to advance. We must find an adapted strategy for each machine. The internet of things brought an ideal solution for acquiring new data and for breaking the existing silos of information. Systems can interconnect, and data can be centralized and cross-referenced. 

By 2020 there will be 50 billion interconnected objects. 44% of them will be related to the industry – Gartner 

We are talking not only about sensors, but about the whole process related to the internet of things: how to connect to machines, how to collect data, what data to recover, at what frequency, how to send it to a secure Cloud, how to generate a volume of data, how to transform the data into intelligible information, how to store it and analyze it, how to compare it to other data, visualize it, and finally, initiate next steps? 

Collecting, transforming, and developing data represent the fundamental steps in digitally transforming the factory. 

Mobapi is specialized in data and the industrial Internet of Things to accompany firms in this major transition from existing machinery. We think existing industrial heritage is already a source of a large amount of useful data that is waiting to be connected and developed.

To find out more:

EBG White Paper – Industry 4.0: challenges and development of industrial data