Industry 4.0 and what’s next

Industry has experienced many revolutions in the past, and as machines, technology, and data continue to advance those revolutions will continue as well. The first Industrial Revolution started in the 18th century in Britain. It harnessed the power of water and steam to power machines to produce products that would have traditionally been made purely by hand.

The second revolution used oil, gas, and electricity to power machines and assembly lines, creating mass production. The third, often called the digital revolution, used electronics like computers to automate processes and collect and share data. Finally, we are experiencing the fourth industrial revolution, called industry 4.0.

What is industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 builds on the progress created in the third revolution with computers and integrates new technology like enhanced analytics, cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial and machine learning. For example, intelligent factories use technology like sensors, robotics, and software to collect and analyze data to gain a clearer picture of the strengths and weaknesses of their process.

This insight helps them to build efficiency and proactively address weaknesses before they result in downtime. In addition, this increase in real-time data helps leaders make better, well-informed business decisions that can significantly impact their business. Here are a few of the things pushing industry 4.0 forward.

The Internet of Things (IoT): Machines and intelligent factories have built-in sensors that can connect to the internet and communicate with other internet-enabled devices, which allows a vast amount of data to be collected, shared, and analyzed.

Cloud computing: Industry 4.0 requires significant data, storage, and computing power. While this would traditionally require high start-up costs to acquire the necessary hardware, with cloud computing, companies are up and running quicker and only use the amount of storage they need and grow as their requirements change.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning: Companies want to learn from the vast mass of data they collect through their organization, partners, and other sources. AI and machine learning provide organizations with insightful and predictive information they can apply to their process for proactive decision-making, like preventative maintenance to increase machine uptime and efficiency.

So, what’s next: Industry 5.0

While many companies are still adapting to industry 4.0, others have already begun looking toward the future. Industry 5.0 aims not just for efficiency and productivity but to use technology to positively contribute to the well-being of workers, society, and the environment.

Many robots in manufacturing today perform dangerous or monotonous tasks while being separated from people behind cages. Industry 5.0 will see people and robots working side by side, with robots helping people to work faster, better, and safer, building off of the automation and efficiency of industry 4.0. It will leverage the strengths of humans and robots to gain the best results.

While many believe that robots and automation will eventually replace the human worker, industry 5.0 aims to support people with technological advances. People’s adaptability, resourcefulness, and problem-solving ability make them extremely valuable to companies.

Companies have realized this, and instead of attempting to replace people, they are looking for ways to enhance their abilities using data and robotics. For example, robots can help take over physically demanding portions of their work so that people can concentrate on other tasks better suited to their natural strengths.

Organizations looking to stay ahead of their competition must ask themselves how to leverage technological advances to improve outcomes for people and their company. The adoption of Exoskeleton technology into your manufacturing process is a great place to begin this shift toward integrating people with machines.

How German Bionic can help

The human body is not the ideal tool for the heavy labor demands required within industry, demonstrated by the fact that workplace injuries associated with labor, like musculoskeletal disorders, continue to rise. However, while the human body is susceptible to damage, the adaptability and problem-solving of the human mind make workers essential for the ever-changing manufacturing landscape.

Wearable machines like exoskeletons are the ideal solution for companies looking to maintain the strengths of both people and machines. With exoskeletons, skilled workers can continue to perform the same tasks while physically supported by machines that can lift more and reduce the wear and tear on people. This support helps employees work for longer hours, more comfortably, with a reduced risk of injury.

Reach out today to learn more about how exoskeletons from German Bionic can help your organization move into the next industrial revolution.


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