In the years to come, for a company to remain successful and to ensure the competitiveness, digitization of business processes and production is essential. The concept of the Industry 4.0 has arrived in most companies with their own manufacturing facilities and production equipment.
What is Industry 4.0 all about?
“Industry 4.0, Industrie 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution, is a collective term embracing a number of contemporary automation, data exchange and manufacturing technologies. It had been defined as ‘a collective term for technologies and concepts of value chain organization’ which draws together Cyber-Physical Systems, the Internet of Things and the Internet of Services.” (Wikipedia)
The concept of “Industry 4.0” was first created by the German government from a project in the high-tech strategy. It describes the next phase in manufacturing, and facilitates the vision and execution of a “Smart Factory”. The phases consist of the following:
- Industry 1.0: mechanization, Water power and steam power
- Industry 2.0: mass production, assembly line and electric power
- Industry 3.0: Computing and automation
- Industry 4.0: Cyber physical system – Internet of Things (IoT)
According to the survey results from the market research firm Bitkom among 554 participating companies, respondents have identified the advantages of Industry 4.0:
- 79% companies estimate Industry 4.0 as strategically important for their business;
- 34% companies holds even for very important; and
- most often, the increased production flexibility is considered an advantage – 62% of companies are of this opinion. 57% are also of the opinion that they using industry 4.0 can respond more quickly to customer or market demands.
However, there are two main obstacles to the introduction of industry 4.0 applications:
- 64% companies complain about high investment needs;
- 57% of the companies it simply lacks the duly qualified personnel.
- 39% of companies surveyed currently have technical and IT solutions
- 22% of companies in the relevant planning; and
- 19% are in the information and decision process.
For the large companies that have 500 and more employees, industry 4.0 is clearly in focus – 84% measure of development is a very important or rather important strategic importance for companies; whereas for smaller companies with 100 to 499 employees, the percentage is 78%.
The challenges for digitization are clearly identifiable. On one hand, in general, machine builders and end users are not willing to actually implement this technology. They’re very reluctant to change because this change might create a lot of problems. On the other hand is the use of new technologies, such as software for networked production at various sites and software programming for IoT – enabled robot to replace the appropriately educated and trained employees. This will totally change the nature of work and emergence of new roles for employees.