Industry 4.0, sometimes also called the fourth industrial revolution, is a trend of data exchange and automation in changing manufacturing and manufacturing technologies.
This data exchange and automation is meant to make factories and plants smarter. Some of these technologies include cloud computing, cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things.
The manufacturing industry has been changing rapidly, aided by the newest software systems and machinery. Consumers continue to demand customized products, adding to the challenge of low-cost production.
Manufacturers have been forced to look hard at their production methods, labor costs, and transportation expenses, among numerous other areas throughout the organization. This focus has resulted in the emergence of smart factories in which machines and software share information and collaborate as never before.
There are many components of how Industry 4.0 is changing, some of which are not yet fully defined, or fully understood. Other components may emerge as technology is continually emerging. These new tools are sure to amplify the prospective results of Smart Manufacturing solutions.
There has been much learning from both the initial sales interactions and actual installations. In the sales cycles, providers of Smart Manufacturing components or integrators of complete 4.0 systems have encountered resistance.
Some of the push-back is driven by the fear of disruption of production, loss of revenue or customer dissatisfaction. Others are concerned about not attaining the “expected” ROI.
However, one of the biggest areas of resistance has to do with the workforce and the prospective impacts on company culture.