Industry 4.0 – The manufacturing of the future

Industry 4.0 – The manufacturing of the future

The term Industry 4.0 is omnipresent. But what is behind this buzzword and what does it mean for the industry of tomorrow? To clarify this, one should first understand where the term comes from. Industry 4.0 means that there have been three major industrial revolutions so far and another one, the fourth, will now follow. The first revolution came with the invention of the power loom in 1784. Mechanization was the key technology. In 1870, industry was electrified with the first assembly line. In 1969, the first programmable logic controller started the age of automation.

What is the next step now? It is the networking of all robots, AIs and people that leads to a highly efficient production process. The basic requirement for this is the collection of data. Because only if all production processes are meticulously recorded and saved are intelligent systems able to uncover weak points and optimize the processes in the next step. Industry 4.0 also means recording and analyzing data. This recording is made possible by modern systems with many sensors. After the data has been recorded, an AI performs the analysis, with humans playing a supporting role. Since all robots and devices are networked with each other, optimizations can be implemented immediately. In addition, unexpected errors or delays can be reacted to quickly and effectively, since artificial intelligence can adapt all processes in real time.

So will the factory of the future be deserted? No, the fear of some people that robots and AIs will take away our jobs in the future is unfounded. Although robots and AIs will soon take over many tasks, new jobs will be created for people. Ultimately, there is close cooperation between man and machine, with the machine relieving humans of tedious and monotonous work, while humans control the processes, maintain the machines, and do detailed work. Human tasks are thus shifted from the physical to the cognitive.

The transition to Industry 4.0 is already happening. Because every day more data is recorded, more robots are connected, and more AIs are activated. This process is very welcome. On the one hand, highly qualified and well-paid jobs are created, on the other hand, customers can benefit from lower prices because the manufacturers achieve considerable savings through the various optimizations.

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