Starting from the principles, until recently in the Western world there was talk of three industrial revolutions. And now at what stage in industrial history are we?
The birth of the steam engine marked the first major turning point in 1784. Subsequently, the use of electricity, the advent of the combustion engine and the rise of oil as a new energy source kick-start mass production: the year 1870. We close the triad with the 1970’s and the birth of information technology and the digital age, destined to increase the levels of automation using electronic systems and Information Technology.
The world of technology is always evolving, we are no longer talking about the effects of the third industrial revolution and what happened after the advent of the digital age and information technology (IT). Today we are talking about the 4th Industrial Revolution (with future prospects linked to further changes to the point of projecting ourselves in the perspective of a 5th Industrial Revolution).
We are in a moment of great change. Until a few years ago, there was shy talk about it, now it is a matter of state and governmental choices. As in every transitional phase, information is never sufficient: we know what has happened since the third industrial revolution and what is expected for the future, but it is still not clear how to get there. There are many fears, the pro-conservative human nature is not always inclined to embrace the change held back by the difficulty and inability to orient itself in the choices and investments that the new format, industry 4.0, requires. It is important to be more clear: what inspires fear and involves more responsibility, instead creates an opportunity for companies that make innovation their own goal.
We cannot give you a precise date for the start of the 4th Industrial Revolution: many say that we are in the midst of change, others say that it has now fallen and are already preparing the ground for a subsequent revolution, the fifth. The topic was at the heart of the World Economic Forum 2016 (WEF), entitled “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
Before talking about industry 4.0, let’s take a step back by introducing a key concept that binds to the topic: the Internet of Things or Internet of Things(abbreviated as IoT). How many of us know the meaning of the Internet of Things? Despite the fact that we have often talked about it in recent times, the concept is not very familiar to the average user. The Internet Of Things expression indicates a set of technologies that allow you to connect to the Internet any kind of apparatus, objects and real places (“things” precisely).
The object interacts with the surrounding world, as it is equipped with “intelligence”, that is, it rehearsing and transfers information between the internet and the real world.
The purpose of these solutions is essentially to monitor and control and transfer information and then carry out subsequent actions.
You may wonder why we introduced this concept… Keep in mind what you just read and imagine applying all this to the machinery of a factory and beyond, to an entire company. Hence the concept of Industry 4.0
But what do we mean when we talk about Industry 4.0?
The theme Industry 4.0 was first used in 2011, during the Hanover Fair. The definition of Industry 4.0 is attributed to companies that adopt digital technologies that allow to increase the interconnection between physical and computer systems by collaborating and interacting with each other. This is, therefore, the result of the exponential growth of the Internet, both in scope of data traffic and for its diffusion, combined with the IoT, the ability to connect to the network objects that collect information and if they exchange it. The level of innovation is such that today the direct synonym of Industry 4.0is Smart Manufacturing (or Smart Factory), where “smart” becomes the common denominator of integrated information management, associated with digital technology.
All very nice!!! But what are the benefits of companies?
Industry 4.0 is expanding the technology ecosystem. Increased levels of monitoring and control help manage multiple resources in the name of more virtuous sustainability and safety that improves the quality of life. Digital educates us to share and collaborate through a new ability to do more and do better. Do you plan to produce a thousand items at the cost of one while maintaining efficiency and quality? Well today you can, it’s the reality and it’s industry 4.0.
In this context, companies increasingly need to be supported by specialists in the field who, with the right skills, allow to discharge on the ground all the energy provided by new technologies. This energy translates into digital tools that facilitate processes, optimizing the production and distribution of products, providing above all the ability to combine many services with products (something unthinkable until a few years ago) to create value added to the entire supply chain, from the manufacturer to the end consumer (data collection for statistics, remote maintenance, extended functionality).
Rossi Maximum – Sales Manager
Projecta Factory Solutions