The rise of industry 4.0 over the last few years as the legitimate fourth industrial revolution has given rise to the concept of the ‘smart factory’, a concept where manufacturing as an industry becomes supremely efficient in its performance and output, while downtime becomes a long forgotten concern of the past. The very drivers that have shaped industry 4.0, drivers such as increasing volumes of data, rising computational power and connectivity, new and emerging styles of interaction between human and machine (e.g. touch screens, virtual and augmented reality systems), and advancements in transferring instructions from the digital to the physical realm through the likes of 3D printing and robotics, have been instrumental in the development of the smart factory concept.
What is a Smart Factory?
Though the term ‘smart factory’ has been bandied about since the 1980s, it has only really been in recent years that the concept of exactly what it is has begun to take shape largely due to the emergence of industry 4.0.
A smart factory is essentially a production or manufacturing facility with equipment and machinery that is highly digitised, intricately connected, and highly reliant on smart, largely automated manufacturing processes. These processes are implemented to optimise production output with efficiency – a concept that is at the core of industry 4.0.
How Important is Industry 4.0 to Smart Factories and Manufacturing?
Smart manufacturing takes the concepts and characteristics that have shaped industry 4.0, including automation of processes, machine to machine and human to machine communications, artificial intelligence, sensor technology and data analytics, in order to both streamline and optimise production processes in the smart factory.
One of the crucial factors essential to making the concept of the smart factory work now and into the future is to create an impenetrable mixture of tightly connected technologies that boast superior integration and connectivity so that they operate as a cohesive, almost singular entity. Once again, this is a concept that’s at the very heart of industry 4.0.
To learn more about industry 4.0 and the smart factory, contact HYDAC today.