How the IoT is Shaping the Manufacturing Industry- What is Industry 4.0?
This week is National Manufacturing Week, which means we’re leaping at the chance to explore how manufacturing has grown in Victoria over the course of the past few years. IoT has played a large role in this growth and we’re working with a new buzzword, “Industry 4.0,” that’s creating waves and making getting work done easier.
Australia’s manufacturing industry is anticipated to achieve a growth rate of 1.2% over the next five years. Not sounding exciting enough for you? Consider that that percentage represents a figure of 405.8 billion AUD. The industry is currently sitting at a value of 383.2 billion AUD and is responsible for employing more than 791,000 Aussies.
Manufacturing is the #1 industry for research and development spending in all of Victoria. It’s responsible for over 22,000 jobs and 55% of the region’s total GD output. Those on the hunt for high-paying positions and excellent benefits don’t need to look far to find them, either. Top paying sectors like chemical and metal product manufacturing hand over as much as $100k per year to qualified employees.
What is Industry 4.0?
Welcome to the world of transformation. The digitization of the manufacturing industry in recent years has come to be referred to as “Industry 4.0.” Everybody loves a good buzzword– but do you know what Industry 4.0 is actually all about? What, exactly, happened to Industry 3.0?
Throughout the past several decades, a number of changes have occurred within the manufacturing industry. The introduction of powerful computers and innovative new technologies have created a new industry landscape that professionals felt deserved its own moniker. As Industry 4.0 unfolds, we’re seeing more of a connected workplace environment across a variety of manufacturing giants.
What does this mean? New tools (like, for example, real-time monitoring) are granting businesses the opportunity to work smarter. Working environments are becoming more efficient; and they’re being tailored to streamline work and boost productivity. Current automation and data exchange trends also contribute to the greater picture of Industry 4.0– cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things (IoR), cloud computing, and cognitive computing are all critical aspects of this new era in manufacturing.
How the Internet of Things is Changing the Manufacturing Landscape
IoT is dramatically improving operating efficiencies. This means different things for different organizations; however, there are a number of benefits that tend to reach beyond specializations and apply to the industry as a whole.
Innovative new technologies like connected sensors allow for 24/7 monitoring capabilities. If something goes wrong, the appropriate employees can be alerted automatically. This saves companies from having to make costly repairs if they miss potential problems with equipment. IoT as a whole contributes to a culture of predictive maintenance and risk mitigation. Limited downtimes mean that less time and money are wasted on stock loss and machinery failure.
For example, Procept was recently involved in developing a product known as Sentry. Sentry is a mass refrigeration monitoring system which alerts managers if refrigeration levels drop. This helped prevent issues with stock loss, which was a common roadblock our client faced during manufacturing, transportation, and storage.
Connected systems like the ones mentioned above allow for supply chains to become ever more efficient– and they’re much faster, too. The preventative measures that IoT helps create save businesses time in the long term; automation allows for consistency and speed, and improved quality control directly contributes to a quicker process.
Creating a Safer Working Environment
The IoT is also playing a critical role in worker safety. For example– eHat, another technology developed by Procept, allows companies with field-employed staff to connect their employees to trained experts. These experts provide remote help when it’s needed, improving field worker safety and efficiency. The system revolves around an audio and video streaming hardhat, which is connected to a central location via a smartphone.
Ultimately, IoT in manufacturing is helping businesses save time and money and keep workers safe. The slow build-up that’s culminated in Industry 4.0 is one that’s been coming for quite some time– many professionals even refer to it as “the fourth industrial revolution.” No matter your opinion on these technological advancements, it’s tough to deny their influence on the landscape of manufacturing as a whole.