Industry 4.0, the convergence of the new technologies,which permit redesign of internal processes and vastly improve the value chain to produce Smart Factories
This revolution implies a new path in which digital, physical and natural barriers are eliminated. The results are outstanding: Kilimo, for example, is a mobile and web app that tells producers how much water the land needs. It uses Big Data, searching for information to find out how much water each piece of land has. This leads to enormous amounts of water savings and improvements in production: imagine in 20 months they saved 4000 million litres.
While in some countries, like the US, Germany and France, the 4th Industrial Revolution is already entrenched, in some regions such as Latin America, uptake is a bit slower, but that doesn’t mean it is not a priority and that, in fact, it is a trending topic in the region. Brazil, for example, is managing and planning how to implement new technologies throughout its market with a clear objective: to stand out from the regional competition.
Argentina already has many agricultural companies that are also integrating the new technologies, like Kilimo. Industrial innovation is here, or just around the corner, and those who hold on to their old techniques will certainly be left behind.
The six faces of the Industry 4.0
The market is constantly changing. New technologies are moving at high speed and have a great impact on every aspect of our daily lives: the economy, tourism, trade, information, recruitment, public administration, training, logistics, security and, of course, factories. But what are these new technologies? There are six standouts, without any hierarchical distinction and complementary to each other:
-The Internet of Things and cyber-physical systems: these are devices that integrate processing capabilities, as well as storage and communication capabilities, in order to control one or more physical processes.
-Additive manufacturing, 3D printing: Allows, among other things, the hyper-customization of a product, cheaper processes of product manufacturing regardless of the number produced, and also makes much easier to produce small series of prototypes.
– Big Data, Data Mining and Data Analytics: The amount of information currently stored in the cloud is huge, thus impossible to manage manually. Comprehensive analysis of these data can provide valuable information about processes; and also can prevent problems in particular industrial processes through the detection of abnormal measures. This abundance of data can only be handled by digital analytical analysis.
-Artificial intelligence: all the information you can get through Big Data needs tools and technologies capable of processing in real time and learn independently from the information they receive. Using AI decision-making becomes optimal.
-Collaborative robotics (Cobot): it’s not just in the movies. There’s a new generation of robots cooperating with humans closely. They are characterized by, among other things, for their flexibility, accessibility, and relative ease of programming.
-Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality: these are two differents technologies. The first one refers to a plane in which nothing is real, everything is purely virtual. While in the second virtual objects are added to the existing reality. Both technologies are equally useful tools for optimizing designs, automation of processes, control of manufacturing and construction, training or workers, and for maintenance and monitoring activities within industrial environments.
The use of these new technologies will mean an important advance in decision-making, time management and physical and human resources. It’s necessary to look for innovative solutions if you and your business don’t want to be left behind. If you choose to not invest it is at your peril because your competitor most likely is already.