Smart Factory 4.0

Smart Factory 4.0

Smart Factory 4.0 or Industry 4.0 refers to the 4th industrial revolution. More than merely a buzzword, Industry 4.0 identified a framework for how the manufacturing industry could take advantage of new technologies to be more efficient and more flexible. The application of smart factory technology can help businesses like yours embrace a digital transformation and optimize your manufacturing operations.  

In the past few years, the usage of Industry 4.0 or Smart Factory has been replaced with the application of specific technologies like IoT, simulations, collaborative robotics, adaptive automation, Big Data, and Reconfigurable Manufacturing. In a broader sense, Industry 4.0 seeks to connect, centralize, and analyze all data across the complete value stream. This broader definition is more complex and can be more challenging for those seeking to learn.

The idea of a fourth industrial revolution was coined in 2015 by a man named Klaus Schwab. He introduced the idea to the World Economic Forum, speaking about a revolution that was fundamentally different from the three that preceded it. The idea is that new technologies were more rapidly becoming available and “are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies, and industries…” For more information on the initial definition, Mr. Schwab has written a book as well.  Intentionally oversimplifying the broader vision, the general idea is that:

Better Data = Better Decision = Better Outcome

The better data, better decisions, better outcomes statement appears simple enough, though in practice it involves many steps.  To break it down, we need to be able to capture the right data then more importantly view and use the data in a meaningful way to inform our decisions.  It is worth acknowledging that this step is not always easy, though research has shown that the effort is worthwhile as we are better off when we begin to rely on data in our decision-making.


How Can It Help You?

Tapping into the power of a Smart Factory, data-driven firms are 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors.

The goal of this industrial revolution is to allow for one, consolidated source for operational data. 

Imagine a world where the production manager didn’t have to adjust the production schedule due to an expedited request, it just happened. Or one where the supply chain manager knew a delivery truck would be late due to incoming weather the day before. This is the potential of Industry 4.0 and real examples of implementations we’ve observed in operation.

How To Get Started With A Smart Factory

When getting your own operations started with these technologies, ask yourself these important questions:  

  • What kinds of information can provide more insight into my operations?  
  • How can the data be accessed and turned into useful information?  
  • How can automation be designed and implemented to respond and better adapt to data-based decisions? 

A SuperTrak CONVEYANCE™ simulation offered through integrated TrakMaster™ software is incredibly powerful early in the automation design lifecycle because it serves as a validation step before detailed design work. The same value is present during operation. Data can be utilized to improve processes, increase quality, and provide predictive maintenance capability, maximizing OEE.  

Data is the driver for informed decision-making. In order to fully take advantage of all the opportunities present in this new industrial age, you need software that can offer you a comprehensive simulation to understanding options, a historical overview of your system’s performance to enable optimization tools, and diagnostic insight to keep the machine running effectively.

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