The “Internet of Things” will be changing the face of the factory floor in the next few years. Industry 4.0 is changing the landscape of manufacturing and supply chain management. With high-tech sensors gathering an immense amount of data every second, factory managers can see exactly how their entire facility is operating without ever hindering production.
Manufacturing will increasingly rely on in-factory sensors, data science, in-factory use of augmented reality along with implementation of 3-D printing. This will be Industry 4.0 which refers to the integration of sensors and these new technologies into the manufacturing process. Industry 3.0 was automated manufacturing, Industry 2.0 was the electric revolution, and Industry 1.0 was the use of steam power. All of these advances in technology were implemented with the same goal in mind, increase productivity. The Industry 4.0 revolution will have this same goal in mind while also making the factory a safer place. While most of the manufacturing processes can be done by these new sensor driven robots, jobs are not expected to disappear entirely, but there will be career changes for manufacturing workers. Any skill set which requires handling data and analytics will be in demand for manufacturers’ as the industry becomes more automated.
Along with implementing sensors and the use of big data there is another gigantic change coming to the world of manufacturing, 3-D Printing technology. At first this kind of tech. was primarily used for rapid prototyping and design. Now 3-D Printing technology has continued to advance and more real world applications are becoming apparent. The company MX3D, a research and development start up, is building 3-D printed bridges out of steel. Expected to be building their first bridge for pedestrian use in September of 2015. Industry 4.0 will bring with it some amazing technology and will revolutionize the manufacturing industry once again.