Manufacturing industry has been one of the fastest evolving industries, with each revolution bringing a new wave of thinking, collaboration and goals. In the last few years, we have made strides towards Industry 4.0, and in 2022, we will progress even faster with digitalization, where connected factories powered by by smart machines and driven by automation.
Industry 4.0 opens new horizons of opportunities for manufacturers especially speeding up their innovation and go-to-market time with data driven insights, and technology playing a pivotal role in optimizing resources. Digitalization enables accurate and informed decision making keeping in mind all the possible outcomes.
Finally, Industry 4.0 will fundamentally change the relationship between a manufacturer and a customer. Now, the business will be able to predict their behavior, and customize products according to changing preferences, almost real-time.
The future of manufacturing is innovative, agile, and customer-centric; and in 2022, the following 3 major technology trends will accelerate the transformation towards Industry 4.0.
Virtual twin technology
One of the biggest bets of 2022 will be on accelerated adoption of virtual twin technology; as the harbinger of convenient, personalized, and far more sustainable manufacturing processes within Industry 4.0. A virtual twin is a real-time virtual representation of a product, platform or ecosystem that can be used to model, visualize, predict and provide feedback on properties and performance.
It provides an untapped opportunity to reduce operational costs and drive sustainable, circular, end-to-end disruption in value chains. It reduces time-to-market and risk in complex projects, which is why it has gained popularity especially with rising consciousness towards sustainability.
In fact, virtual twin technologies have been used in the development of 85% of the world’s electric vehicles, and more than 75% of global wind power and will continue to pave the path towards Industry 4.0 in India.
Industrial IoT for smart monitoring
With IIoT, shop floors and manufacturing processes can be integrated with smart sensors and adaptors, to consolidate real-time data from all stages of production, making the entire process more stream-lined and resource efficient. The data and insights derived thereafter, equip manufacturers to take informed decisions; and course-correct faster. In growing competition and complex business challenges, optimizing processes and resources, to be more agile and productive is a business imperative.
In 2022, IIoT will advance Industry 4.0 towards lean manufacturing to solve operational challenges, enhance safety and mitigate future disruptions.
Big Data and AI
As a manufacturer, there will be access to huge volumes of data collected by smart sensors and IIoT. The key would be to use this data effectively. With AI tools, manufacturers can make their processes more predictable, especially reducing long down-time and giving more insights. Big data analytics also improve warehouse processes, identify and eliminate bottlenecks, and assist in load optimization, supply chain management, etc.
To conclude, while there have been technology advances in manufacturing, large-scale adoption has been slow. Hence, in 2022, the objective should to be to leverage available technologies and adopting them in smart manufacturing initiatives, that will help organizations in their transformation towards Industry 4.0. Identifying low-hanging opportunities like integrating Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and overall equipment efficiency, and production monitoring to streamline the processes and improve the production efficiency will be key. This will give predictable and faster return on investment, and enable scalability and roll-out in a phased manner.
Finally, a practical and ready-to-adopt journey towards Industry 4.0, will be a combination of MES and IoT in the short term and AI and Big Data Analytics with virtual twin experience in the long term. These technologies will help companies become tomorrow’s game changers and inspire their workforce to bring new skills, mindsets, and expectations to their business.
— Ramakrishnan Venkataraman Director & Head -Enterprise Solutions, Dassault Systemes.