Industry 4.0 – A boost to the competitive manufacturing
We are currently witnessing that the main economies are strengthening or even turning upside down the industrial production as a result of the last advances in ICT. These advances imply new opportunities to increase the productivity and efficiency in advanced manufacturing. This trend shows that the Information and Communication Technologies role today will be more important than ever.
This is happening not only for production, but also for customers and for the suppliers integration process. The emergence of new services based on these technologies could change the current scenario and increase the opportunities of differentstakeholders in the value chain.
One of the strongest trend in the world is the initiative known as “Industry 4.0”, encouraged by Germany, which offers us a benchmark in terms of vision, technology opportunities and scientific challenges, concerning the application of the new ICTs, focused on the Internet of Things and Ciber-Physical Services and Systems (CPS). Other countries such as the United States (i.e. Advanced Manufacturing Program or Industrial Internet), Japan, the United Kingdom, etc. are also working on these initiatives and they should mean a reference for us, of course adapting these new paradigms to our own situation.
The basic idea is that we are facing the fourth industrial revolution with revolutionary applications of the ICTs based on the evolutionary process of transformation towards the Smart Factory. The technologies that support this vision are: Internet of Things and Services, Cloud technologies, Industrial Big Data, new advances in Industrial Automation, Sensors, Smart Devices, Ciber Security, Semantic Technologies, Robotics and Visual Computing technologies (Advanced Visualisation, Computer Graphics, Computer Vision and Interaction included).
Different scenarios could be defined by the use of these technologies considering critical and apparently conflicting points such as personalization and mass customisation, better integration of client and supplier specialisation, services supporting products, exploitation of the information available in production, etc. in a strongly competitive and global world.
To sum up, we could see the German experience (with a strong relationship and collaboration between industry, government and research) as an incentive to define a way and a strategy adapted to our reality. A successful strategy implies close collaboration between different agents and an international view for collaboration. Only through this way we will be able to make a great use of the opportunity we are facing today.
Jorge Posada, Associate Director