Welcome to the era of robotics in manufacturing. The current shockwave of technological transformation has again reached the industrial landscape. The fourth industrial revolution is changing the way the manufacturing industry works. Notably, robots have started populating the manufacturing floors and are powering exponential growth in manufacturing productivity. However, the transition into Industry 4.0 is posing significant challenges.
The concept of the fourth industrial revolution was first introduced in Hannover earlier in this decade. This followed several decades of industrial automation, albeit at lower levels of functionality and complexity. Many developments have since shaped several industry 4.0 technologies that were previously under the purview of researchers. This is possible today, mainly due to innovations in technology, software, and hardware. Already, the increasing human-machine, machine-machine, and human-human connectivity influence production systems and processes across the world. Industry 4.0 trends and technologies are fundamental in achieving connected manufacturing geared towards smart and autonomous factories.
Internet of Business's comprehensive guide to where Industry 4.0 will lead manufacturers in the year ahead. Most manufacturers believe they are leading their markets in Industry 4.0 technologies, despite evidence to the contrary. There is a huge gap between the many companies that are exploring digital manufacturing strategies – via technologies such as automation, robotics, AI, and the Internet of Things – and those that are implementing them successfully. With Brexit looming, many manufacturers and solutions providers fear what this will mean for the wider European industrial community, which depends on the free movement of people and confident investment. The UK Budget recently sought to soften this blow by reinforcing the UK's commitment to a strong environment for international scientific collaboration. As part of this investment in R&D, the government will increase the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund by £1.1 billion, supporting technologies of the future. This includes up to £121 million for the Made Smarter initiative to support the transformation of manufacturing through digitally enabled technologies, such as the Internet of Things and virtual reality.
Artificial Intelligence is benefiting to various industries including healthcare, education and manufacturing. But what is Artificial intelligence (AI)? In Layman language, a simulator of human intelligence, which makes the decision after analyzing various data utilizing a collection of different intelligent technologies including machine and deep learning, analytics and computer vision. The fourth industrial revolution is employing AI to enhance its overall efficiency. The technology is not only helping to reduce manufacturing cost as well as it is improving productivity and quality. Manufacturing is a capital-intensive process, and once a plant is a set-up, replacing, removing or renovating is exorbitantly expensive. New machines improve performance; reduce redundancies, while improving overall quality metrics. AI is proving an alternative route to achieve all this and at extremely competitive price points. Instead of now replacing machines, manufacturers are adding AI/ML tools to pre-inspect raw materials identify defects, perform quality evaluations, and a lot more.
Deployment of robots, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning-based systems could bring many performance benefits for organizations. These benefits include, but are not limited to, improved product/service quality, greater throughput, enhanced employee safety, reduced variability, waste reduction, and, most importantly, higher customer satisfaction. It is incorrect to regard robotics and factories of the future as new concepts because they have existed for decades; it is the perspective around them has evolved over time. When Henry Ford replaced horse carriages with automotive engines, robotics became the driving force of our lives. His assembly line became the blueprint for later designs of manufacturing plants and factories.