Why Industry 4.0 Matters
Every time a concept like Industry 4.0 comes along, some readily embrace it, others reserve judgement, and still others dismiss it as just another buzzword. If your job is making parts on CNC machines, or making and selling manufacturing equipment, understanding Industry 4.0 may be essential to your future success. Here’s why:
Each of the preceding centuries were shaped, in part, by advances in technology. Steam and water power in the 18th Century spurred the move from farming to industry. The 19th century saw the development of electricity and interchangeable parts, making goods more affordable. The 20th Century saw rapid advancements in automation, and information technologies. Each of these 3 centuries, then, were pivotal in the evolution of industry.
In the 21st Century, the increasing speed of developments in digital and information technologies converging with physical and biological sciences are changing industry faster than ever before. Consider: Self-driving cars, artificial intelligence and cyber warfare. All of which have the potential to disrupt and completely reshape commerce and industry – especially manufacturing.
So what does this mean for you?
If you are a manufacturing company:
- Staying on top of emerging manufacturing developments is more critical than ever before. The rapid advancements in and integration of mechanical, electronic, digital and newer technologies requires constantly upgrading your capabilities.
- Embracing interconnectivity is critical. The Industrial Internet of Things IIoT means it’s now possible to go beyond analyzing data to continuously improve performance. Enabling machine tools and peripherals to communicate directly with one another opens the door to reducing changeover times, controlling material usage and refining manufacturing processes.
- You may need to redefine your company. The American railroad industry crashed and burned in the mid 20th Century because it failed to realize that it was in the transportation business, not simply a means to move goods and people over steel rails. In the same way, a manufacturer that defines itself too narrowly by the markets it serves or the kinds of parts it makes, may be left behind as new technologies emerge and customer demands change.
If you make or sell manufacturing equipment:
- Your customers depend more heavily on your expertise. They need you to look beyond their immediate requirements and suggest longer-range solutions that enable them to expand their capabilities and meet increasingly greater demands from their customers.
- The sharing of data between machines and factory intelligence systems is becoming more widespread. You’ll need to provide the means for compatible intercommunications in much of what you make or sell.
- Customer support and technical service is even more critical, as interconnected work cells can’t function properly if one or more components fail. In addition to providing quick and capable on-site support, remote monitoring, analysis and troubleshooting will become much more in demand.
For both users and sellers of manufacturing equipment, the overarching focus must be on completely satisfying your customers. Industry 4.0 assures that the rapid pace of technological advancements and easy access to information means that nothing is “new” for very long. Therefore, the difference between you and your competitors will ultimately come down to who best satisfies the customer.
To learn how LNS machine tool peripherals are an integral part of Industry 4.0, contact your local LNS respresentative or call 513-528-5674.