Industry 4.0 is currently everywhere.
There are events, seminars and talks around industry 4.0 and how it affects our lives.
Faster, higher, better….
But what exactly does industry 4.0 mean? What does it refer to?
Do I, as a company, need to act upon the principles of industry 4.0?
And as an end customer – why do I need to know what it is all about?
The concept of industry 4.0 is called like this, because it is the fourth industrial revolution.
What were the first three? Here is a little journey to the past.
First industrial revolution – Mechanization
It was the first time in history that machines were mechanically operated.
The mechanical loom is the machine that marks this revolution.
The machines were operated by waterpower and steam.
Second industrial revolution – Electrification
The beginning of the 20th century marks the time when the first assembly lines were operated with the help of electricity.
This revolutionizes the way people used to work tremendously.
Not only companies like Ford, but also slaughter houses suddenly worked with assembly lines.
At the assembly lines, there was a strict division of labour.
Each person only focused on a couple of simple and repetitive tasks.
Efficiency and speed were at the highest level.
Third industrial revolution – Automation
Believe it or not, the third industrial revolution lies already in the past.
It already began during the early 1970s.
One of the main characteristics was the development of IT and electronics components.
Suddenly, machines were able to replace humans in a variety of tasks.
Fourth industrial revolution – Connectivity
Currently we are in the so called fourth industrial revolution.
Sophisticated technologies make it possible to move forward in society really fast.
The idea is that humans and machines are connected and work together to manufacture products & provide services.
The thought behind industry 4.0 is always a symbiotic relationship between humans and machines.
Companies are built in an intelligent manner.
Humans and machines can work together easily in their surrounding.
Machines do not replace humans but serve as intelligent employees.
There is not only a communication between humans and machines, but also between the machines themselves.
This means that machines are also able to act completely decentralized.
Industry 4.0 also makes it possible for machines to decide autonomously.
Here you can find an overview over the most important components:
Simulations, Augmented Reality applications and so called big data help in creating a symbiosis between humans and machines.
Also, the possibility of 3D printing is crucial when it comes to industry 4.0
Why? Because it makes the manufacturing of lot size 1 possible.
But not only in an industrial context, lot size 1 is important. It is getting increasingly essential in the fashion industry.