The past two centuries have witnessed the ebb and flow of three different industrial revolutions, each powered by a disruptive new technology. New innovations and technological disruptions have not only improved productivity but have also led to better efficiency and increased profits for businesses across sectors.
We are now in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, which transformed automation, monitoring and analysis of supply chains via smart technology. It has altered the systems to evolve into smart supply chains, with the help of smart manufacturing, warehousing and logistics techniques.
As we are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, it’s essential to understand the five most prominent trends that are driving it and are enabling organizations to optimize their target industrial performance.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Crowned as the backbone of industry 4.0, IoT is being deployed across various sectors and business operations. The internet of things (IoT) is a network of physical objects, embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies to communicate and exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet. IoT enables machines and business processes to communicate without the interference of humans, enabling organizations to focus on optimizing business outcomes and improving customer experience. As the world is rapidly becoming digitized, IOT has found prevalence in healthcare, education and several other industries.
3D printing is an additive manufacturing process whereby layers of material are built up to create a 3D object. This is the opposite of subtractive manufacturing processes, where a final design is cut from a larger block of material. As a result, 3D printing creates less material wastage. It is cost-effective in terms of complex geometries and affordable startup costs. It is completely customizable and ideal for rapid prototyping. Due to the versatility of the process, 3D printing has applications across a range of industries as varied as aerospace, automotive, medical, fashion and railways.
Cloud and Edge Computing
Cloud Computing is an advancing paradigm in software development that allows data and programs to be removed from organizations’ PCs and server rooms and installs these in a virtual cloud. It enhances accessibility, provides virtual storage space, solves backup problems, and offers security against unauthorized access and data loss.
Edge Computing is a model that brings computation and data storage closer to the location where it is needed to improve network response times and save bandwidth. It can be described as a more localized version of cloud computing since it provides intelligent services by collaborating with cloud computing at the edge of the network.
Cloud & edge technology is enabling manufacturers gather data and gain insights for precision monitoring and predictive maintenance, which is making manufacturing processes more efficient and reducing the probability of errors.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The reach and impact of AI is growing with every discovery/improvement in the field. AI is rolling out profitable use cases in diverse sectors. It also serves businesses via end-to-end automation of processes. AI may emerge as the most important determinant of growth across the core sectors of the country. India’s National AI Strategy identifies agriculture, healthcare, education, smart city infrastructure and mobility as key areas where AI can enable development and greater inclusion.
To keep up with the pace of the growing data, the network needs to be equally fast. To facilitate rapid collection and analysis of industrial data, there is a need for a fast network, which allows for increased productivity in manufacturing processes. Not only machines, but workers must be connected to this network, enabling them to connect with the tools that can be operated on a faster network. 5G is a growing trend which has the potential to simplify the addition of new IoT devices and make manufacturing processes more efficient.
These key trends are making manufacturing processes more efficient and giving businesses a competitive edge. As the introduction of new technologies continues, it is important for the production facilities to be proactive and identify emerging disruptive technologies at an early stage.