What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0, also known as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) or Integrated Industry, is a revolutionary process connecting every level of an operation, from the machinery on the shop floor to the building management system that controls the entire production environment. Industry 4.0 may also be referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as it is believed to be the fourth major technological advancement in industrial processing and manufacturing.

By creating seamless integration and multi-way communication at all levels by enabling devices to interact with each other, it is possible to generate useful production data. It is the application and learning from this data that drives Industry 4.0, creates intelligent devices and enables Smart Factories.

As the number of connected devices soars into the billions, Industry 4.0 and its associated data offer huge potential benefits for businesses.

Benefits of Industry 4.0

Reduced line downtime

Imagine you have a production line and machine fault occurs. By connecting all your devices in the production line, you will be able to not only identify what the problem is and where it has occurred, but also notify the other equipment to hold until the issue has been rectified.

Predictive Maintenance

You can predetermine potential failures and notify the relevant personnel before the problem occurs, increasing the interval between services and extending machine lifetime. What’s more, you can manage this connection from anywhere in the world.

Energy Monitoring

Industry 4.0 allows you to clearly see when machines are operating, observe standby times and detect any deviation in performance, allowing you to carry out proactive maintenance.

Flexibility of production

Manufacturing has evolved from mass production requirements to a situation where customers demand their own individually customised products to meet their exact specifications. Industry 4.0 gives you the ability to produce customised products using mass production processes, opening up new markets and ventures for your business.

Easily accessible data

Not only does Industry 4.0 give you access to hugely valuable production data from your machines, the advent of cloud computing enables you to monitor production and manage connections from anywhere in the world.

How can you implement Industry 4.0?

As Industry 4.0 evolves quickly in terms of speed, intelligence and capabilities, so too do our requirements for equipment to handle this enhanced communication. Machine manufacturers are currently building intelligence into new machinery and organisations are investing to ensure they have Industry 4.0 ready machines.

However, there is a communication gap forming as old machinery doesn’t have the capacity to meet the digital standards set by Industry 4.0 ready equipment. This shortfall has led to the development of the digital retrofit, a process whereby it’s possible to upgrade an older, un-digitalised machine into a fully connected, digitalised device. For organisations who would like to start small-scale Industry 4.0 projects to discover the benefits of connected machinery, HARTING have developed MICA to help them scale quickly and easily.

MICA (Modular Industry Computer Architecture) is a robust and compact miniature industrial computer specially designed for use within production and manufacturing plants. The intelligent hardware provides direct data processing at machine level and decentralised collection and analysis of data.

UHF RFID readers can be used for identifying plant modules, secure information processing and data storage, delivering real time production solutions and providing intelligent systems to the factory. They can also be utilised as a track and trace solution for factories, all whilst operating under the most challenging industrial conditions.

In line with Industry 4.0, HARTING’s cabling solutions such as Han-Smart® are meeting the demand for miniaturisation, reduced installation times and modular production processes. For example, using the PushPull V4 Industrial you can disconnect and reconnect the industrial lifelines in seconds, minimising manufacturing downtime.

If you'd like to discover more about this topic or discuss your Industry 4.0 goals with us, please click below to contact our specialist Product Manager.

Get in touch
Gavin Stoppel
Product Manager