At a recent regional event in Moncton, Ben Hope of Fiesto Canada and Dr. Bill McIver or NBCC, joined manufacturers to share expertise and to provide a better understanding of the entire scope of Industry 4.0. Although many in attendance had some grasp of different aspects, the presentations were very helpful in tying it all together.
There is no question that this is an all en-compassing topic and, as some suggest, this may be the next buzzword. A number of companies are successfully implementing processes, techniques or technology that would be considered an advancement toward where this next industrial revolution is taking things. The way things are done in the plant, the customer experience, the supply chain including material, information and knowledge are moving more towards performing as one....talk about breaking down those silo's that we have spoken about for years!
On this topic, I willingly declare my lack of expertise. Like many, understanding is the first step to change and seeing potential so below I have simply included some high level points from Ben's, as well as Dr. McIver's, presentations;
Industry 4.0 is the combination of industry and the current Internet of Things (IoT) technology. This 4th Industrial revolution highlights the following:
- the Internet of Things and cyber-physical systems such as sensors having the ability to collect data that can be used by manufacturers and producers.
- the advancements in big data and powerful analytics means that systems can trawl through the huge sets of data and produce insights that can be acted upon quickly.
- the communications infrastructure backing this up is secure enough to be used by heavy industries.
Smart factories, which will be at the heart of Industry 4.0, will take on board information and communication technology for an evolution in the supply chain and production line that brings a much higher level of both automation and digitization. It means machines using self-optimization, self-configuration and even artificial intelligence to complete complex tasks in order to deliver vastly superior cost inefficiencies and better quality goods or services.
Although not your typical manufacturer, they are a producer, let's take a look at the technological advances at one of the best known restaurants in the world...McDonald's...who would have thought one would be giving an order to a machine, a product would be produced to specifications, delivered, tied to the supply chain and a huge source of data. And yes...these are now in a town near you!
The outcome of this event was, of course, the information shared by our two knowledgeable presenters, but just an important was the opportunity to come together as peers and develop that as a resource. We were so pleased to have had the opportunity to partner with the folks at NBCC and to welcome community partner attendees from NRC-IRAP, ACOA, and RPC.
Please feel free to contact me for any additional information on this event and be on the lookout for invitations to upcoming ones....there's lots of great activity in your regions.