Home Featured The fourth industrial revolution (“Industry 4.0”)

The fourth industrial revolution (“Industry 4.0”)


By Haruna Inuwa

Lately, sophistication and consistent specifications significantly increase in the manufacturing processes. There is an unavoidable global competition, business unpredictability, and high demand for customized goods, and a short product-cycle that puts huge barriers to manufacturing industries.

The continuous advancement in manufacturing parts increases the chances of machine breakdown and volatility in the manufacturing environment. As a result of the effect, technological integration becomes inevitable for sustainable manufacturing of products and flexibility within a certain system.

 The recent emergence of new technologies has paved a way for many disruptions across the manufacturing industry and all the sectors of industries which require proportionate economic attention for both developed countries and developing country. Because of the nature of the environment, legal framework, and economic policies, the procedure of arrangement of Industry 4.0 and its characteristics is different in the developing nations when compared to developed nations.

The developed nations seem to have been well prepared for the next industrial revolution when contrasted with developing nations, in which the procedure of arrangement of Industry 4.0 was begun before and planned for promoting and social-outcomes, creating nations face institutional, financial related obstructions and look for monetary objectives.

Simultaneously, the activity way to deal with the arrangement of Industry 4.0 in developing nations, inside which the initiators of this procedure are monetary subjects (organizations), visualizes bigger adaptability and adequacy when contrasted with the order in developed nations.

In view of this, speculation is coined that the procedure of arrangement of Industry 4.0 in developing nations has its eccentricities and varies from that which is occurring in developed nations. The offered theory foreordained the objective of this part, which is a similar investigation of the arrangement of Industry 4.0 in developed and developing nations.

Why the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The first industrial revolution entirely eliminated human work with the introduction of technological innovations of using steam-engines, cast-iron manufacturing, and automation of the textile industry. This brought the need for an overall change of industrial infrastructures to accommodate these industrial technologies. This occurred from the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century. The changes that first industrial came with led to the transportation of manufactured products in steam form and cast-iron.

Like the first industrial revolution, the second industrial revolution came with a lot of industrial transformation which economically enhance industrial growth and productivity. This led to the use of electricity for mass production, construction of railways, high-grade steel production, and chemicals. The geographical delivery of manufactured products like steel, cast iron, etc, became possible through railways by trains which moved logistics to another level. This happened between the beginnings of the 19th century to the 20th century.

The third industrial revolution occurred in the beginning 1950s which made telecommunications technologies, digital computers, semiconductors, renewable, and more importantly the internet. This brought about web infrastructure globally and increases the quest for automation in manufacturing through the help of digital technologies.

The fourth industrial revolution which is termed as Industry 4.0 is here already in the 21st century. Similar to other industrial revolutions, the fourth industrial requires an entire change in the manufacture of products, nature of work, and give rise to the emergence of new technologies like cyber-physical systems, the internet of things, cloud computing, additive manufacturing, big data analytics, and smart manufacturing. Powerfully-controlled by strong internet connectivity, industrial automation becomes possible and accomplishing.

Symmetrically, like previous industrial revolutions, the fourth industrial revolution which is coined Industry 4.0 consists of its own technologies. These emerging technologies form the building foundation with which industrial automation using smart systems can become possible in the 21st century. These emerging technologies are cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing, and a lot more.

Industry 4.0

 World over, the new term – ‘Industry 4.0’ is fast-becoming eye-catching and gaining momentum as well. This new, disruptive technology has lately discovered its bend of movement and has transformed and reshaped the way things are viewed in the manufacturing segment, which also includes the automotive sector. This data-driven business era, after Industry 4.0, is seen as a container of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)/digitally-enabled technologies. Industry 4.0 brings the intensity of technology and information and intermeshes it with physical systems to provide a new set of processes, structures, and results.

In recent years, Europe lost around 10% of its good proportion of industrial domination, taking advantage of that loss, the rising nations figured out how to twofold their offer, representing 40% of worldwide manufacturing.

A couple of years back, Germany began contemplating activities so as to keep up and significantly cultivate its job as a “trailblazer” in the mechanical area. Inevitably, the term Industry 4.0 was freely presented at the Hanover Trade Fair in 2011, introduced as a major aspect of Germany’s cutting edge system in order to get ready and reinforce the mechanical area with respect to future creation prerequisites. From that point forward, Industry 4.0 has picked up consideration significance – additionally past the German-talking zone – and has become the glaring topic of discussion during the 2016 World Economic Forum’s plan.

Industry 4.0 is all about the optimization of smart, flexibility of supply chains, production lines, and distribution models where machines capture and pass more data through machine-to-machine communications and to human operators. This targets empowering organizations to make faster, more intelligent decisions, all while limiting costs.

The need to comprehend and implement advanced manufacturing methods is the need for great importance. In current occasions, Industry 4.0 is discussed at different levels. The automotive sector of the industry is the key driver for outstanding technological advances is presently looking and investigating approaches to comprehend and internalized the same. Industry 4.0 has numerous features to it including the impending trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing, and a lot more. It creates what has been called a “smart factory”.

 Globally inspired by Germany, some developed and developing countries adopted the idea of Industry 4.0 to reflect on their governmental blueprint suchlike “Smart Manufacturing” in the USA, “Made in China 2025”, “Summary of the White Paper on Manufacturing Industry” from Japan, and “Future Manufacturing” in the UK.

 Further, Japan’s corporate environment proposed a new manufacturing dimension called “Industrial Value Chain” similar to German Industry 4.0. Ditto to the government of France initiated “New Industrial France” within the year 2013 which will foresee the country’s future plans of technological and industrial innovations. Coincidently, in South Korean authority recommended a technological shift in manufacturing named “Manufacturing Innovation 3.0 Strategy Implementation Plan” which is relatively similar to Industry 4.0.

 The interest for Industry 4.0 is double. First, just because industrial transformation is anticipated apriority. The incorporation of ubiquitous sensors and using the internet in smart factories make Industry 4.0 inevitable to emerge which is another technological transformation we are witnessing today.

Thereafter, it gives different chances to organizations and exploration foundations to effectively shape what’s to come. Second, the financial effect of this modern transformation should be gigantic, as Industry 4.0 guarantees generously expanded operational adequacy just as the advancement of completely new plans of action, administrations, and items.

To buttress the above point, the main goals of Industry 4.0 belie in flexibility in operations, end-to-end operational maintenance, and internal-upgrading of manufacturing system intelligently. This brings human-to-machine interaction integrated into one platform to process, customized, monitor, and deliver in the most efficient and eco-friendly manner.

In the future article, we shall get to know the enabling technologies for practical implementation of Industry 4.0, technology-driven skills, applications, opportunities, and challenges for developing countries like Nigeria.

Haruna Inuwa is a researcher that has research-interest in the applications of the Industry 4.0 technologies in fields of sustainable energy and manufacturing.


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