The most recent evolution in manufacturing, called Industry 4.0, is enhancing computer assisted manufacturing through the addition of machine learning and smart technology. The last evolution of industry brought the manufacturing process into an age where computers and automated machines enabled factories to produce products on a massive scale, and this latest leap in manufacturing will further remove the human element from the equation. Although there are instances where a human component is still incredibly important, many of the new trends in Industry 4.0 make it easier to create products without people getting involved. For example, machines are becoming more efficient in detecting and maintaining their own conditions, so it’s no longer necessary to hire as many people to run routine tests on machines.
According to an article from Forbes, the network of connectivity between machines and the rest of the manufacturing line is the main contributing factor to this technological revolution. This list of 10 new trends in Industry 4.0 will impact the manufacturing process in the upcoming year.
What’s Special About This New Version of Industry?
When people find out about Industry 4.0, many people wonder what happened in the earlier versions. Most people are privy to the previous Industrial Revolution, yet the second and third revolutions in industry are not as well known. The catchy title and gigantic leap to use factories in the production of materials makes the Industrial Revolution known by the masses. However, the other revolutions were just as important in the story of the progress of humankind.
According to Techradar, the Industrial Revolution evolved into the second revolution in the middle of the 19th century. The second revolution made manufacturing weapons easier, and this revolution was marked by using steel for the first time in factory processing. The second industrial revolution ended when electricity was incorporated into factory settings. The evolution in revolutions changed to being called the third industrial revolution in the middle of the 20th century. The third revolution involved updating factories with digital technology. The old ways of using mechanical and electrical systems were inferior to the compact, efficient designs of digital technology. The switch occurring in the fourth industrial revolution involves using smart technology to improve existing manufacturing processes.
Top 10 Trends for Industry 4.0 in 2021
Lowering Energy Use
One of the major downfalls of industry is its negative impacts on the environment. Using cleaner fuels in the production of products was one of the earliest changes in energy use. Throughout the world, more countries are turning away from coal and fossil fuels to use more sustainable energy sources. According to Kitmondo, Industry 4.0 will feature a trend of lowering the amount of energy used by factories.
To make this change, manufacturing facilities need to take a look at the amount of energy they use, and they need to find ways to reduce their energy use in 2021. For each individual manufacturer that wants to see their company grow, reducing the cost of electricity in the next year should be at the top of their list. Excess electricity uses resources that impact the environment, and too much energy use is a barrier in the costs of production.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
Even the name sounds futuristic. IoT technology is a new evolution from old technology that already brought the user closer in touch with each device, but these smart devices that are part of IoT are using wireless signals to transmit information. Consumers are excited about this new type of technology because it is capable of dissecting software issues to fix its own operating systems. IoT technology installs its own updates, and many devices using IoT technology are always ready to be commissioned by the user. IoTs are becoming popular because of the ability to assist people in many of their everyday tasks.
How is this type of technology doing in the business community? IoT technology is performing surprisingly well, and is an innovation that will change production and supply chains, materials, and processes. In their list of top innovations in the next industrial revolution, they support IoT by showing statistics about the increased use of IoT devices throughout the world, and another dramatic statistic reveals how this technology is likely to experience significant growth within the next six years.
New Developments in 3D Printing
This advancement in technology is paving the way for manufacturers that don’t have funds to purchase large spaces for warehouses. 3D printing enables factories with the ability to build new products as they are ordered. In addition to producing products on demand, 3D printers help lower costs of making prototypes for new products. This impacts the design sector as well. Making prototypes in a cost-effective way helps companies build superior products, and products receive better testing before going into the manufacturing process.
Increased Efficiency With 5G
As consumers update their services for their personal electronic devices, factories are making similar changes in the way that they operate. Industry 4.0 will see the increased use of 5G technology in place of slower systems. The value of tools improved by a fast internet connection will increase productivity in the processes involved in factory jobs. Workers will be connected with the tools that they need to complete jobs, and machines will be able to take advantage of a greater bandwidth as well. The increased use of 5G technology in 2021 will help companies improve efficiency involved with tracking, cloud data storage, communications, and other operations.
Tools to Connect Employees to the Process
The shift to Industry 4.0 empowers employees in a new way that has never been seen in industrial employment. More employees are able to conduct their work from remote areas, using sophisticated technology that keeps the worker in close contact with each project. Streamlining the manufacturing process includes connecting designers from around the world to the products that will be offered to consumers.
More Use of Cloud Technology Optimizes Production
According to Forbes, an optimization in production is available due to the ease and availability of cloud networking. This technology has been around for several years, but it will be more trendy in 2021. Optimizing production allows for more control over which products are made at which time, basing decisions off of real data.
Transformation in Product Design
According to Forbes, the new trends in artificial reality and virtual reality will change the ways in which people work to design products. Artificial reality will allow designers to change the shape, style, and features of products before prototypes are needed. This new trend will save resources on designing and developing products in Industry 4.0.
In the year 2021, a major trend that will be seen in Industry 4.0 is an increase in the types of technology that are capable of maintaining their own existence. Thus, the growth of smart technology has made monitoring easier. For example, IoT technology sends data reports more frequently; these types of devices have made it easier to keep track of how well each item is performing. If technology is able to assess its own defects, it will help manufacturers know when certain items need to be serviced, and manufacturers will spend less money having people conduct individual tests. In addition, this technology will help keep projects moving towards their goals without having as many machines break down during jobs.
Improvements in Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Automation and AI working in factory settings will be responsible for improving the quality of responses to demands for new products in the future. The processes used in teaching machines how to operate is evolving, which will give more incentive to create new projects at a lower cost. If the amount of labor involved in setting up future projects is reduced by incorporating machines that learn at a quick pace, the scale of projects will be able to increase proportionately. Scale and speed of creating new programs are two of the major reasons for the evolution to a new industry standard.
Experts in this sector believe that automation is making factories more productive. However, there’s still room for this technology to evolve in 2021. It’s predicted that this evolution will accelerate, and the manufacturing industry is going to see many changes to the way that it can incorporate digital registration and machine learning to increase efficiency.
Consumers Will Be More Connected to the Experience
The new methods of tracking data and consumer experiences are helping to inform the manufacturing process. This is one of the best uses of data being collected from consumer experiences. That data is actually being applied to making products, so manufacturers are able to create products that are tailored to the desires of the end user. This shift will help increase profits, and more products will be created as needed, so this new relationship between consumers and manufacturers should have an impact on the amount of resources used during manufacturing. On demand products that are created based upon consumer input means less resources will be wasted, which translates to less space taken up to store products.