What Is Industry 4.0? Things to Wonder About Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is an industrial revolution that brings concepts such as ”Internet of things“, ”big data“, ”augmented reality“, ”cloud computing” to our lives.

What Does Industry 4.0 Mean and What Is Its Purpose?

Industry 4.0 is the 4th Industrial Revolution, which aims to bring together information technologies and the industry, and is based on the communication of devices with each other over a common communication network. Its main goal is to reduce human muscle strength and to create a faster, more efficient and more flexible structure using a technical production scheme at less cost.

When Did Industry 4.0 Start?

The term Industry 4.0 or 4th Industrial Revolution was first used at the Hannover Fair in Germany in 2011. In October 2012, Robert Bosch GmbH and Henning Kagermann formed a working group and presented their work, which they referred to as “Industry 4.0”, to the German Federal Government. Then “The Industry 4.0 Strategy Document” was announced again at the Hannover Fair in 2013. Thus the term ”4th Industrial Revolution ” officially came into our lives. Although this strategy document mainly focused on Germany, it also introduced the whole world to a new industrial revolution in terms of revealing the qualities that the new revolution has.

Stages of the Industrial Revolution

1st Industrial Revolution: The 1st Industrial Revolution, which affected the years 1760-1840, started with the mechanization of weaving looms in England. The replacement of wood by coal and water vapor increased the power of movement, which led to mechanization and therefore to the transfer of production to factories. Now the old type of family companies had given their place to large factories.

2nd Industrial Revolution: In the 19th century, after this first revolution, steam was started to replace by products powered by electricity, petrol and natural gas. The discovery of these fuels laid up to the invention of vehicles such as automobiles and aircraft. All these have accelerated developments in the field of economy and industry.

3rd Industrial Revolution: The 3rd Industrial Revolution began with the Computer Age. The first computers were extremely simple in terms of their computing power, cumbersome and incredibly large. Yet today, they have opened the doors to a world that is hard to imagine without computer technology.

4th Industrial Revolution: The 4th Industrial Revolution is starting a new era that will create major changes in the current production processes in informatics, internet, artificial intelligence, automation and robotic technologies. Along with industry 4.0, it aims to integrate the production chain from the first supplier to the end-user with advanced digital technologies and replace extremely expensive, error margin muscle strength with cheap and excellent systems.

Principles of Industry 4.0

Interoperability: This principle aims at maximum communication between human and machine. While people remotely control the operation of the machines, the machines encountering a problem that they cannot solve, report this to people, the system administrator.

Virtualization: It means that the relationship between humans and machines is not physical.

Real-Time Capability: Instant collection and analysis of data related to ongoing processes in the factory.

Modularity: It means that individual modules are flexibly adapted to smart factories with changing conditions.

Industry 4.0 Applications

Industry 4.0 is a general system with many subheadings and is based on the principle that all other systems must communicate with each other. This principle is formed on the basis that machines work integrated with each other, analyze data and, of course, inform people of all these if necessary. The examples for Industry 4.0 are applications in which machines wirelessly communicate with each other through sensors. These applications are intended for more production at less cost. The possible scenarios that lightless and peopleless production areas, also called ”dark factories”, will increase even more in the coming years, are exactly the result of these applications. So, let’s detail our article about the most well-known applications of Industry 4.0:

Big Data: Big data is a term used for a wide variety of high-volume and fast-reaching information. These days, where the amount of information and the speed of accessing information has increased so much, the collection of data to form a meaningful whole has become an important issue. For this purpose, the first studies were conducted in the fields of astronomy and genetics. Then “big data” began to be used in almost every aspect of life. Information about the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, topics such as Internet Exchange, and many more contained in internet search engines, is included in the field of big data. Big data is a term used for converting data collected from many different sources, such as photos, videos, blogs, into a meaningful and workable format. According to the widespread IT specialist belief in today’s Information Age, unstructured data was worthless. But “big data” has shown us that the phenomenon called information garbage contains extremely important and useful information.  In short, big data was like finding treasure in a garbage dump. The most important aspect of big data in regards to Industry 4.0 is that it forms the basis of most other technologies. Because the more data is used, the higher the level of effectiveness of production processes.

Internet of Things: Internet of things is a communication network created by connecting physical objects used in everyday life to the internet through various electronic devices. The basic idea behind this concept is to connect as many devices as possible to the internet and thus facilitate daily life. Moreover, as long as all of these devices are connected to each other, each of them does not need to be connected to the internet separately. The biggest advantage of this technology is that it allows you to control objects remotely. With industry 4.0 and the internet of things, the current amount of data will reach very serious dimensions. By combining the internet of things and industry, it is expected to increase quality in production, reduce costs, increase energy efficiency and performance.

Artificial Intelligence: Artificial intelligence is the technology that enables the work that people do with their intelligence to be done by computers. This technology actually means that software and algorithms installed inside machines and devices are used by computer programs that try to mimic human intelligence. This makes the digital technologies we use every day “intelligent”. There is also an inseparable relationship between Industry 4.0 and artificial intelligence. A factory with machines that give information to each other and can work in the dark is, of course, equipped thoroughly with artificial intelligence.

Autonomous Robots: Autonomous robots are self-contained intelligent machines that can intelligently manage their tasks without the need for a human. These robots minimize and in some cases even completely eliminate human-caused errors thanks to the fastest and most accurate instant decision analysis. The interaction of robots between each other, which has become even more important with industry 4.0, also increases from day to day.

Cybersecurity Technologies: Cybersecurity includes technologies implemented to protect computers, mobile devices, electronic systems and existing data from malicious attacks. The problem of cyber threats continues to increase every day. One of the most common known cyber threats is malicious software, described as “malware.” Malware is software created by a cybercriminal to disrupt or damage a legitimate user’s computer. Industry 4.0 poses such cybersecurity risks to smart manufacturers and digital supply networks. In order to prevent all these, cybersecurity strategies must be ready at any time and institutions must integrate cybersecurity technologies from the very beginning of the process.

Cloud Computing: Cloud computing is a service for storing files and data on digital platforms. This technology, which usually does not require any installation, keeps existing files in advanced databases and prevents them from being viewed by third parties unless they are accessed. For Industry 4.0, it is said that ”its engine is the internet, and its fuel is big data.” So, it is clear that data in a large volume of data can only be stored with cloud technologies.

Augmented Reality: Augmented reality is currently considered as one of the world’s biggest technology trends. It is often confused with the concept of ”virtual reality”. The biggest difference between augmented reality and virtual reality is that instead of taking us to a different place than where we are now, it brings virtual reality to the place where we live. It does this by placing digital information on real-world items. Augmented reality is used in many areas, including marketing, real estate, logistics, building, shopping and even education. Moreover, the use of augmented reality is in perfect harmony with Industry 4.0 principles. Augmented reality is a revolution in terms of accessing information and methods of using it effectively. In fact, augmented reality itself can be thought of as a pool of information that expands the perceptions of its users. This technology maximizes our perceptual experiences and allows us to interact with all kinds of information.

Advantages of Industry 4.0

  • Minimizing human-induced errors or even completely eliminating them in some cases
  • Reducing production costs
  • Increasing flexibility in production
  • Providing higher productivity
  • Enabling to carry out production operations in an environmentally friendly manner

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