What Is Industry 4.0? Applications and Examples of the 4th Industrial Revolution

Posted by Dave Bercovich on August 26, 2022

Automation has long been used in manufacturing and other industrial sectors. In recent years, however, the Internet has enabled operational technology (OT) systems to communicate with each other and with information technology (IT) systems. Sensors, industrial controls, and other equipment can collect, share, and analyze data and make intelligent decisions based on the results.

What Is Industry 4.0?

This concept is known as Industry 4.0. It represents a fourth industrial revolution in which machines can not only detect faults but predict them and take action to minimize or even prevent downtime. Personnel can monitor, manage, and visualize the entire production process remotely, dramatically increasing efficiency.

The convergence of OT and IT systems is also contributing to the rise of edge computing. Organizations are pushing IT systems to the edge of the network to facilitate the real-time processing and analysis of OT data.

When Did the 4th Industrial Revolution Start?

The term “Industry 4.0” emerged in 2011 at the annual Hanover Messe exhibition in Germany. Professor Wolfgang Wahlster, Director and CEO of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, used the term to describe a fourth industrial revolution powered by the Internet. By embracing Industry 4.0, companies could be more competitive in a high-wage region.

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Industry 4.0 Terms and Technologies

Several key technologies are associated with Industry 4.0. These technologies shape the way industries function by enabling automation and more effective decision-making. Below are industry 4.0 technology examples and terms frequently used in industry 4.0 applications.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

The IIoT includes sensors and other devices that monitor equipment and processes, collect data, and enable the interconnectivity of systems and supply chains. IIoT platforms help organizations improve inventory management, increase automation and predictive maintenance, and enable other operational efficiencies.

Big Data Analytics

The vast data sets collected by IIoT devices can be analyzed in the cloud or used to “train” machine learning algorithms. Big data enables industrial organizations to optimize processes, reducing costs, minimizing downtime, and maximizing the value of their equipment.

Artificial Intelligence

AI and machine learning are key enablers of Industry 4.0. The terms refer to algorithms that can learn from data and reach conclusions without being specifically programmed to do so. AI applications can be used to predict machine failures, anticipate market shifts, and more. The larger the data set, the better the outcome.

Additive Manufacturing

Also known as 3-D printing, additive manufacturing enables the fabrication of parts by adding layer upon layer of material rather than removing material from a solid workpiece. Additive manufacturing reduces costs and waste and enables the development of stronger, lighter parts.

Industry 4.0 Applications

Industry 4.0 enables several applications that help reduce costs and drive competitive advantages. Below are a few key industry 4.0 applications.

Predictive Maintenance

When industrial equipment can transmit real-time data, it enables a range of remote diagnostics and maintenance solutions.

Supply Chain Optimization

By collecting and analyzing data from sensor-tagged products, IIoT platforms allow organizations to continuously monitor inventory levels and track the location, status, and conditions of orders and shipments.

Fleet Management

Vehicle tracking and monitoring, fleet analytics, fuel management, predictive maintenance, and remote diagnostics are among the features that help fleet operators boost efficiency and reduce expenses.

Building Management

IIoT sensors can monitor various building conditions, including heating, air conditioning, ventilation, lighting, security, and safety features. Alerts can be generated if any machine or system deviates from defined operating parameters, enabling adjustments or maintenance before a breakdown occurs.

Enconnex Solutions Support Industry 4.0

Enconnex offers several solutions that can help facilitate Industry 4.0 applications and services, including:

Contact our experts to discuss your Industry 4.0 initiatives and how the right infrastructure products can provide the foundation for success.

Harness Industry 4.0

Posted by Dave Bercovich on August 26, 2022

Dave has 20 years of data center and IT infrastructure sales experience. He has represented manufacturing organizations such as Avaya, Server Technology, & The Siemon Company. As Sales Director with Enconnex, he builds relationships and grows the Enconnex business working with partners, and resellers.

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