The con­nec­tion rev­o­lu­tion

Sunday World - - World Of Jobs - STAFF REPORTER

THE first in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion hap­pened back in 1784 when the age of me­chan­i­cal pro­duc­tion dawned; it was fol­lowed by a se­cond in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion sparked by elec­tri­cal en­ergy in 1870 and a third based on the au­to­ma­tion of pro­duc­tion through IT in 1969.

Now we’re on the cusp of In­dus­try 4.0 a fourth in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion driven by con­nected devices and sen­sors, cloud com­put­ing, ad­vanced ro­bot­ics, in­tel­li­gent soft­ware, and a range of other tech­nolo­gies.

In­dus­try 4.0 is de­fined by Deloitte as the merg­ing of the real and vir­tual worlds on the fac­tory floor a world of smart fac­to­ries where cy­ber-phys­i­cal sys­tems mon­i­tor phys­i­cal pro­cesses; com­mu­ni­cate with each other and hu­man work­ers, and make au­to­mated de­ci­sions. Think of it as the In­dus­trial In­ter­net of Things.

The key driver for the change is the use of sen­sor­based tech­nol­ogy. Th­ese sen­sors are be­com­ing cheaper even as the power of com­put­ing grows. They are the ex­po­nen­tial tech­nolo­gies that start to blend the real and vir­tual worlds to­gether.

The en­tire prod­uct life­cy­cle can be driven through this tech­nol­ogy shift from en­gi­neer­ing to de­liv­ery. The de­sign can be driven by cus­tomers as they per­son­alise prod­ucts through e-com­merce that au­to­mat­i­cally changes the pro­duc­tion process on the fly to de­liver an un­be­liev­able cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence.

Com­pa­nies re­fer to this as the In­no­va­tion Cy­cle where they have sen­sors, ac­tu­a­tors and in­te­gra­tion at ma­chine level that al­lows users to gen­er­ate data from the ma­chines on a prod­uct level. Cou­ple this with data an­a­lyt­ics, en­sur­ing that you are pre­cise about the data col­lected, and the im­me­di­ate re­sults can be ex­tra­or­di­nary.

This data may be used to im­prove main­te­nance or lower the cost of pro­duc­tion by re­duc­ing pro­cesses and/or process times.

Fi­nally, the data gained goes full cir­cle back to the man­u­fac­turer who looks for ways to in­no­vate and ul­ti­mately cre­ate new prod­ucts and ser­vices.

Once the pro­duc­tion plant is con­nected via the in­ter­net, this starts to de­liver ef­fi­ciency and op­ti­mi­sa­tion across pro­duc­tion, pur­chas­ing, qual­ity con­trol, mar­ket­ing and en­gi­neer­ing con­trol. From here fur­ther in­te­gra­tion and net­work­ing can be­gin.

In­dus­try 4.0 is more than just a vi­sion of the fu­ture it’s a vi­sion for now de­liv­ered at the speed of now. Us­ing cur­rent tech­nolo­gies to con­nect phys­i­cal ob­jects to the vir­tual world is al­ready yield­ing new busi­ness mod­els, es­pe­cially across dis­crete and process man­u­fac­tur­ing en­ti­ties.

We are start­ing to see a lo­cal boom in man­u­fac­tur­ing caused by the pro­longed cur­rency weak­ness and govern­ment in­cen­tives. Imag­ine an in­vest­ment now in th­ese tech­nolo­gies to drive us to the next level of com­pet­i­tive, per­son­alised, real-time man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.