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The Main Benefits and Challenges of Industry 4.0 Adoption in Manufacturing

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The Main Benefits and Challenges of Industry 4.0 Adoption in Manufacturing

The Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 is an umbrella term that refers to changes happening in the industrial value chain process. Those changes are powered by emerging technologies, offering a better way to organize and manage all standard processes (prototyping, development, production, logistics, supply etc.) within the manufacturing industry.

In short, it encompasses all the further automation and computerization companies now deploy to improve their production cycles and “connect” all the different works aspects into a unified digital ecosystem.

To get a better understanding of how this evolution it happening, let’s take a quick look at the characteristics of the industrial revolutions that took place before:

The Main Benefits and Challenges of Industry 4.0 Adoption in Manufacturing - Infopulse - 1

The new digital systems, emerging as part of Industry 4.0, gauge data from both physical and digital sources including:

The new digital systems, emerging as part of Industry 4.0, gauge data from both physical and digital sources including:

  • Industrial IoT devices;
  • Robotics tools and autonomous robots;
  • Big Data analytics systems;
  • AI and Cognitive systems;
  • Augmented Reality.


Four Main Characteristics of Industry 4.0

1. Vertical Networking.

Digital-to-physical processes enable manufacturers to rapidly respond to various changes that come as result of shifting demands, stock levels or unexpected equipment faults. Smart factories are highly connected entities, with different systems being able to interact with one another and adjust their performance.

2. Horizontal integration via a new generation of global value chain networks.

The physical-digital-physical (PDP) loops enable a higher level of transparency. Companies can locate and respond to problems faster. Such organization-wide networks can record information from all the operations including intralogistics and warehousing, to prototyping and production, to marketing and sales to downstream services. Every aspect of every process is logged and can be assessed and analyzed at any time.

3. Through-engineering across the entire value chain.

All the product development and manufacturing activities are integrated and coordinated with the product life cycles. New synergies emerge between product development and production systems.

4. Acceleration through exponential technologies.

The main premise of Industry 4.0 is to create an increasingly autonomous and highly cognitive ecosystem. It relies on technologies such as machine learning, deep learning, advanced robotics and industrial IoT to further accelerate efficiency.


Challenges That Hold Manufacturing Aback from Industry 4.0 Adoption

Driving organization-wide innovation is tough. Currently, 6 out of 10 manufacturers admit that the implementation barriers are so strong, that they managed to achieve only limited progress with their industry 4.0 initiatives during the past year.

Among the top cited challenges are:

  • Lack of unified leadership that makes cross-unit coordination difficult within the company.
  • Data ownership concerns when choosing third-party vendors for hosting and operationalizing company data.
  • Lack of courage to launch the radical digitalization plan.
  • Lack of in-house talent to support the development and deployment of Industry 4.0 initiatives.
  • Difficulties with integrating data from various sources to enable initial connectivity.
  • Lack of knowledge about technologies, vendors and IT outsourcing partners that could help execute the core initiative.

While there’s no “one-fits-it-all” approach to bringing an Industry 4.0 program to life, there are several things every company can do to diminish those adoption barriers. The first step is to clearly estimate the ROI different digital solutions can generate for your business.


The Business Benefits of Industry 4.0 Adoption

The emerging Industry 4.0 technologies can entirely transform the manufacturing value chain. From increased production efficiency to innovative product and services deployment – the benefits of digitalization are significant.

  1. Revenue gains
  2. Increased efficiency and productivity
  3. Machine downtime reductions
  4. Improved supply/demand matching

To get one step closer to Industry 4.0, consider deepening your knowledge about the new technologies and use cases driving the most value – an explore how they can fit your new strategic initiatives.


Contact AGE Technologies Today to assist you

Or contact us on +27 11 869 3925

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