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21st Century Technologies Drive Industry 4.0 - Today.Provided by Northrop Grumman

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Today’s technology is revolutionizing the way we build everything from microchips to fighter jets. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, is currently underway in factories around the world.

Artificial intelligence (AI), smart factories, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are no longer the flashy demonstrations at trade fairs or the utopian side of the theoretical factory. These are essential tools that manufacturers use to keep up with the competition. In a Deloitte survey of his 2,000 international business leaders, 70% of his executives said Industry 4.0 technology should be integrated into their operations for long-term business success. says there is

how did we get here

Many technologies have matured in recent years, and early adopters have benefited. The smart factory may appear overnight, but its evolution is slow.

  1. The first industrial revolution, centered in 18th-century England, introduced the power of water and steam into early factories.

  2. Nearly a century later, manufacturers have experienced a historic boost from the Second Industrial Revolution of assembly lines, telecommunications, and new power sources (oil, gas, and electricity).

  3. Then, in the 1970s, computers, advanced telecommunications, data analytics, and basic digitization fueled the Third Industrial Revolution.

Today we are surrounded by 21st century progress. Sensors and robotics are both better and cheaper than they were just a few years ago. Cloud computing has also made it practical and relatively easy for machines to communicate with humans and other machines. This Fourth Industrial Revolution is the “cyber-physical transformation of manufacturing,” as TechTarget defines it.

Drive technology for Industry 4.0

Many of the inventions that underpin today’s consumer technology are also helping transform the smart factory. The biggest drivers of the current industrial revolution are:

  • IoT: The machine is equipped with a sensor with an IP address so it can connect to the internet. Supervisors can see information about the entire machine, its subsystems and even individual components. This helps with quality control, increased productivity and predictive maintenance. Now, instead of waiting for something to break (which could cause an entire production line to shut down unexpectedly), the supervisor uses the data to optimize maintenance his schedule, keeping everything as close to possible as possible. can continue to run efficiently.

  • artificial intelligence: Increased automation is a hallmark of the Industrial Revolution. Robots and software automation take over dirty, boring or dangerous tasks so people can perform other tasks such as strategic planning. Previous generations of robots performed heavy, repetitive tasks. Today, they collect data and roam the factory floor, inspecting goods and identifying defects.

  • Cloud computing: Cloud computing makes nearly any driving skill possible. Previously, the computer used a server located on-premises. Today, people can use the Internet to store and access data and software applications on offsite servers operated by service providers. This gives businesses greater flexibility and access to more computing power. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) says cloud computing saves manufacturers time and money.

  • Additive Manufacturing, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Big Data, Simulation, and Systems Integration: These additional technologies are helping propel the factory into the future. This list continues to grow as industry leaders continue to adopt new technologies and modern approaches to streamline their businesses.

When technologies come together and machines and software programs communicate with each other, true magic happens.

According to IBM, “Data from manufacturing operations can be combined with operational data from ERP, supply chain, customer service, and other enterprise systems to unlock a whole new level of visibility and insight from previously siled information. When you create it, you create more value.”

More sensors, more problems?

All these technological advances offer incredible benefits to your manufacturing environment. Industrial professionals now have greater visibility into what’s happening on the factory floor without being physically present. Machines assist technicians in physical work. Behind the scenes, software makes sense of all the data collected by the sensors and helps humans make decisions based on the data, thus reducing the human mental load.

But no one said the revolution would be easy. Big changes bring new problems. Industry 4.0 brings many benefits, but also challenges. First, new technology usually requires an initial investment, and not all industrial workers have the latest and greatest tools at their disposal.

Cybersecurity is a big concern. As machines, systems and individual components become “smarter”, they also become more vulnerable to threats such as malware, hackers and viruses. Cybersecurity must therefore go hand in hand with all other driving techniques.

Despite the inevitable challenges, the benefits of new approaches to manufacturing are too great to ignore.

Interested in science and innovation? So are we. Check out Northrop Grumman Career Opportunities to see how you can join us in this fascinating era of discovery.