The Importance of Data in Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0” is a concept created by the German government that defines the next industrial revolution (also called “Factory of the Future”, “Intelligent Factory” or “the 4th Industrial Revolution”) based on the CPS (cyber-physical system). In these systems, people and machines collaborate and interact optimally throughout the value chain, with machines having an increasing degree of autonomy, intelligence and decision-making ability.

The evolution of industrial organizations towards Industry 4.0 poses a set of challenges to the management. The CPS interconnection assumes the creation and massive exchange of real-time data originating from the factory floor, gradually flowing to the decision makers. Data management is thus one of the major challenges of Industry 4.0. The data collection implies the existence of a network infrastructure, and adequate data capture from the equipment (through its sensing). Taking into account the massive amount of data produced and exchanged, “Big Data” technologies are of fundamental importance. Nonetheless, generation, communication, and adequate replacement of organizational process data is only a necessary - but not sufficient - condition for value creation in Industry 4.0. In this sense, data should serve not only to create processes for decision-making autonomy throughout the value chain, gradually freeing employees and decision makers from the time-consuming tasks of decision-making that would require a great deal of time for analysis and consideration, but also for making predictions and optimal decisions accordingly, leading to resource savings and increased quality.

An example of this data processing can be Predictive Maintenance. In the predictive model, plant floor equipment becomes self-aware of its condition, and is able to trigger maintenance orders before breakdowns occur, avoiding critical production downtime, reducing costs through optimal management and operation of the equipment, and always guaranteeing the maximum quality of the final product.

The concept of “Industry 4.0” is gradually becoming a reality, generating proven gains in efficiency, economy and agility to react to market changes, allowing companies to extract the most value from their processes and resources. The printing industry could also adopt this reality, taking advantage of the management software solutions for Industry 4.0 that SISTRADE offers.

2018-12-6 Thursday