There comes a point in time where a business, company, or even an entire industry realizes they have the choice to either drive change or get left behind. Industry marches to an ever-faster beat where merely blinking your eyes might miss an entire revolution. Did you blink? We’re already well into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with the next waiting in the wings. In today’s world, you have to think past tomorrow. So where are we now, how did we get here, and where are we going?
Industry 4.0-The Smart Revolution
Industry 4.0 means innovation. It’s the name given to the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is happening right now. The Third Industrial Revolution began in the late 20th century with the introduction of digital tools and technology. Today we further build on that by making those tools smarter and powered by the Internet of Things (IoT). While all the previous industrial revolutions have definitive time periods, sparked by discrete and obvious inventions, the current revolution is unique because we systematically morphed into it with the latest technological advancements.
- First Industrial Revolution (1760 – 1840): The Industrial Revolution
- Second Industrial Revolution (1871 – 1914): The Technological Revolution
- Third Industrial Revolution (Late 20th Century): The Digital Revolution
- Fourth Industrial Revolution (Now): The Smart Revolution
The Megatrends of Industry 4.0
The hallmark of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is innovation, specifical innovation in manufacturing. In Collaboration with McKinsey, the World Economic Forum published a report on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (you can check it out here). In short, they defined the principal drivers of this transformation in production as:
- Flexible Automation
When I think of the thousands of TriMech clients throughout the United States, I believe that 99.9% are practicing at least one out of these three, but how many do you think are practicing two or even three out of these three? The ones that are will be around for years to come, but the ones who aren't may have a future that is uncertain.
The Automation Potential of Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 is not just defined by connectivity or intelligence by leveraging the internet of things, but also by looking to next-level automation of tasks. Think of the tasks you or your company does, what percentage of these tasks could be automated? In other words, what is the technical automation potential? As shown in the graph below, nearly two-thirds of occupations have at least 30% of their activities that are automatable or could benefit from some form of automation.
Does this mean that you’re going to lose your job? No. What I think it means is that our jobs will look different and you’ll adapt to using different tools.
The Tools of Industry 4.0
As companies look to navigate Industry 4.0, there are familiar tools that are enabling this shift.
- 3D CAD tools (SOLIDWORKS)
Software that helps you conceptualize, create, validate, communicate, manage, and transform your innovate ideas into great product designs.
- Manufacturing ERP (DELMIA | Works)
Manage your manufacturing business from first client interaction to the shipping dock. Get real-time visibility and business intelligence throughout the entire process, making your company more agile while also driving better quality and higher profitability.
- Virtual Prototyping (Simulation)
Digitally test your product designs against real-world, multi-physical conditions and present detailed virtual representations.
- Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping)
TriMech enables designers to convert their ideas into real end-use products and prototypes, getting to market before the competition.
- Smart Machines (like CAMWorks Shop Floor)
The software leverages digital machining data in part models with state-of-the-art tools, reducing errors and improving communication between CNC programmers and shop floor machinists.
All of these tools are helping workers and augmenting their productivity. Think about how different the process your job is now compared to just a few years, ago. It has been revolutionized in a period of what seems like overnight. Think about it, what will your company look like just 6 months from now?
Industry 4.0 is not just the factory of the future or the company of the future, it’s the factory of today and the company of today. If you want to have a thriving business tomorrow, you need to have an Industry 4.0 mindset.
Industry 4.0 is here today, are you ready for tomorrow?