The industrial sector is experiencing a “revolution”; some analysts do even call it a fourth industrial revolution. New terms are heard from a long time ago, such as “Factory of the Future”, “Industry 4.0” or “Smart Factory”. It’s more than passing argot, it represents a new productive scenario by means of innovating solutions in different parts of the value chain, which translates as a higher efficiency.
The “Factory of the Future” will be focused not only on technology to increase product quality through the improvement of machining and robot processes. It will focus also on the optimization of other processes, such as production, logistics, commercial and management, by means of the development of software and analysis systems. This will be able to convert the plethora of data provided by the “Factory 4.0” into useful information, in order to anticipate decisions between the different steps of the chain, as well as improving the product quality, price and service; competitiveness, in other words.
Beyond any reference to social networks, mobile applications and the possibilities of big data as universal data repository to help for decision taking and a continuous improvement of products and services, changes in the industrial environment have evolved at high speed too:
- Increase of robotic systems on every scale of complexity and cost.
- Access to artificial intelligence and neural networks non-algorithmic computing applications
- Comprehensive factory management and optimization by sensorization and M2M interaction.
- Logistics processes optimization and control.
How has this process affected the automotive industry?
In recent years of downturn for the Spanish economy, among the little positive news there have been the heavy investments on a key sector for the Spanish industry such as automotive. Almost all manufacturers have consolidated or increased their presence in our country. The reason should be the high levels of productivity, los costs and high quality levels. However, these indicators do also suggest that other countries that manufacture cars have lower costs, and differences in productivity and quality are getting closer. This industrial revolution may need ICT to become the main catalyst for change.
What has been achieved so far?
Unimaginable achievements a couple of decades ago have been attained currently in manufacturing:
- Process flexibility in order to adapt them to customer demand.
- Implementation of the “Lean Manufacturing” method.
- Creation of safer, more eco-friendly and energy-efficient working environments.
- High quality levels thanks to standardization and reduction in productive processes variability.
- Improvement of human potential in organizations.
What should we aim to achieve?
Industry 4.0 must go beyond:
- It has to be based in 6-Sigma processes with almost no variability, where 0 defects can be a reality.
- It must be ecologically sustainable, where a 100% of generated waste in process could be reused, with high energy efficiency levels, based in energy recovery from the production process.
- Quick decision-making based in the available information in real time and in intelligent processes, able to forecast faults and malfunctions.
- In the Factory of the Future, components traceability along the value chain will be crucial to have the track record for each unit that has been produced.
- New multi-sensorization systems for the equipment will be needed to increase further the reliability levels of the machines. These systems will allow data collection, storage, real time processing, self-diagnostics, alarm systems based in predictive models, learning systems and an automatic decision-making based in algorithms developed according to the most advanced data mining techniques.
We may hear in the future about organic machines, able not only for self-diagnostics, but also for self-repair.
What can Logitek provide?
LOGITEK is ready to join the companies in the automotive industry willing to step into Industry 4.0 with technology solutions that simplify system integration in plant, as well as logistics coordination in real time.
Moreover, the company offers advanced IT solutions that increase availability and security, and reduce IT infrastructure maintenance costs in the plant, i.e., Disaster recovery, Data integrity and different availability levels.