The cable industry is now starting to adopt the principles of Industry 4.0, or the "Smart Factory". You may think of it as a revolution, or an evolution of automated systems of the past. However, the one thing you cannot ignore is that it is an opportunity. Smart assets are here and they are becoming smarter. Smart is not just about doing things better but doing things differently. If you continue to do the same things, you will inevitably get the same results.
Ali Shehab, CEO, Cimteq, says, "There is tremendous confusion around Industry 4.0, the Smart Factory and the Internet of Things (IoT). When people think of industry 4.0, they think of technology, but when they hear the word Smart, they think of intelligence. The two concepts go hand in hand. Smart is the act of applying an intelligent solution to solve a problem and Industry 4.0 is the collection of technologies to enable this function.
Another error that people make is equating the Internet of Things (IoT) to Industry 4.0. IoT is only one of the new and evolved technologies which we collectively call Industry 4.0.
Using Smart assets in your factory does not make the factory a Smart Factory, in the same way that a person using a Smart phone does not make the person smart. A Smart Factory must exhibit the characteristics of communication, adaptability, continuous improvement and collaboration".
The most distinguishing factors of I4.0 technologies are automation and communication. The aim of the use of these technologies is to allow the manufacturer to reduce cost, increase speed and add value.
These technologies also allow decision makers at any level to make quality decisions to help move the business forward.
But on a practical level, how do you progress the theory of Industry 4.0 into the reality of developing a factory into a Smart Factory? In a report by McKinsey Digital*, it offers 5 pragmatic recommendations for capturing value from Industry 4.0;
1. Focus your efforts on a limited number of applications
2. Don't be afraid of "workarounds" today, but start laying the IT foundations for a more robust solution tomorrow
3. Build a portfolio of third-party technology providers
4. Build a strong internal team with an agile mindset
5. Experiment with the new business models
Industry 4.0 is not the future, it is here and yielding benefits by those that adopt its concept.
At Wire Dusseldorf 2018, our focus will be on Industry 4.0 and the Smart Factory. We will have our experts on hand to demonstrate the capabilities of CableBuilder and CableMES. Come and visit us at Booth 11/D15. Book a one to one demonstration to discover how our software can transform your business.