New and Emerging Production Technologies – Industry 4.0

/ New and Emerging Production Technologies - "Industry 4.0"

Whilst manufacturing technology has never stood still, the current age has seen remarkable new technologies emerge and find applications in this sphere. The catch-all umbrella term 'Industry 4.0' has been coined to summarise and identify some of the main contributors. Some of the central concepts of Industry 4.0 are:

  • Interconnection
  • Information Transparency
  • Technical Assistance
  • Decentralised Decisions

These central concepts translate to the following key technologies, though the list is by no means exhaustive:

  • Autonomous Robots & automation - not only the technology itself, but also its impact on vehicle and parts design and processing
  • Additive Manufacturing - not merely confined to prototype and small-scale production, but now impacting mass production lines
  • Simulation - of physical systems and man-machine environments, facilitates progress and innovation faster, cheaper and more reliably than ever before
  • Augmented Reality - enhancing human operators views of systems and environment by overlaying and combining real-time data
  • Cloud Computing - providing modular software, data and functionality, on demand, real-time, in a resilient and cost effective way
  • Internet of Things - devices, systems, subsystems, all connected, sharing real time data, and involved in co-operative tasks, as never before
  • Big Data - taking advantage of cheap available data communications and storage technology and advanced data visualisation techniques to provide ever greater efficiencies, insights and control.
  • Systems Integration - making use of common data standards and high speed communications to connect disparate systems and improve end-to-end performance and efficiency of the whole.
  • Cyber-Security - software technology and best practices designed to protect critical computing infrastructure and sensitive data from damage, exploitation and abuse

To this defining list, several other key technologies might also be usefully added:

  • New Materials Handling and Processing Methods - some generic, such as the use of RFID to track and control production and supply systems; others, highly specific and appropriate for example, to new advanced and functional materials and composites increasingly being used by the industry.
  • Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning - applications range from computer vision and new materials discovery, to optimising supply chains and production lines
  • Sensor and Actuator Technology - digital cameras, heat, movement and orientation sensors, piezo, electric and hydraulic actuators are indispensable components of modern production systems.

Strathcarron have a unique vantage point in identifying the problems and opportunities that come with these new developments in the industry. We are constantly keeping abreast of all the latest technological developments and best practices so that we can better help our clients navigate this complex, ever changing landscape.

Contact us now to discuss how we can help your organisation with Industry 4.0 and related technologies.