Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 and Its Impact On Auto Manufacturing

Industry 4.0 – think of it as the fourth industrial revolution – combines smart technology to make smarter factories. Elements of Industry 4.0 include what’s called Machine-to-Machine communication using a form of artificial intelligence the Internet of Things – just about everything these days is connected to the Internet so you could call it the Internet of everything – as well as sensor technology so the smart machines can do self-diagnostics without humans getting involved.

Industry 4.0 is driving faster and more flexible production, with increasing levels of customization. Taken to an extreme, seamless production systems should be capable of switching out of serial processes to manufacture a single part just as quickly and efficiently as they can make multiple parts, in a hyped up agile manufacturing process.

Needless to say, fully implemented Industry 4.0 has huge ramifications for the future of work. Over the past decades, technology has replaced millions of factory jobs worldwide, a trend that will only accelerate as more and more manufacturers embrace Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 combines hardware, software and cyber-physical systems all enhanced by super-fast connectivity. Industry 4.0 also integrates in advances in robotics, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotech, 5G wireless technologies – as fast as cable modems – 3D Printing to build what automakers hope will be fully autonomous vehicles that can drive you home while you work independently in the back seat.

The promise of driverless vehicles is not new. Auto makers have been predicting this trend for decades. Industry 4.0 can is turning those promises into reality particularly for auto giants such as Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Toyota Motors. Already they are delivering beta vehicles without gas peddles and steering wheels. Michigan’s May Mobility has a fleet of these vehicles prowling Grand Rapids and Detroit providing an autonomous bus service for urbanites.

Clearly what Industry 4.0 delivers is increased automation. Workers, in many cases, no longer need to closely monitor advanced technology equipment during their shifts since these devices are self-monitoring and report when a fault is about to occur. With Industry 4.0 factories humming, and an emergency occurs, workers can remain confident the automated devices will continue to function properly. And if they don’t, workers can step in to make the proper adjustments. Industry 4.0 means fewer people can make a factory much more efficient than plants that don’t employ these advanced tools.

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