Industry 4.0: Where Smart Manufacturing Unlocks:
Consider the sublime scenario marked by autonomous robotics functional in tandem, 3D printing, computing taking place on cloud, AI directing devices while Machine Learning identifying regular patterns and IoT helping us control the devices. Until a few years ago, such would have been outwardly perception but now, such is the notable aspect of smart manufacturing, disrupted only to get upgraded a step higher, which has ramped up production and also tapped upon efficiency deeply.
While the 18th century industrial revolution relied upon mechanical proficiency in machines instilled through water and steam, but that was electricity to trigger the second industrial revolution forth, which resulted in large scale production along with ramping up of assembly lines and that also called for division of labour. Following this, in 1970s, third industrial revolution occurred which was largely due to powerful computers and IT dominance, due to which automation occurred in some industrial processes and made communication refined.
Now, that was in 2011, that the term “Industry 4.0″was coinedi indicating a handful of technologies, developed to revamp production as powered by data and where production processes were bundled too, but with towering automation, and such factors combine to be called as “Smart Manufacturing”.
Analysis Of 10 Premium Technologies That Develop Smartness In Manufacturing:
Efforts are incessant to push forth technologies by way of passion-driven innovation. Talking about 5G, such can ease infrastructural dependence and otherwise heavy dependency upon hardware and WiFi alongside augmented bandwidth than its predecessor.
To slip into the category of smart manufacturing, following technologies are widely stressed upon and any new machine or framework is innately designed to involve any or many of these that follow. For instance, an IoT gadget that is designed with sensors which would be connected to cloud in seamless way devoid of any wire but then, there are likely installed processors circuited by AI to trigger alerts as well as to be an autonomous decision maker.
- Artificial Intelligence + Machine Learning:
For a manufacturing process to be called smart, it calls for data-analysis through the scope of AI and ML, by the virtue of which, data processing becomes swift and outstanding data patterns are easily captured in the most precise way. AI technology is also enmeshed into cobots which are a permanent feature in smart factories and also in the express robot frameworks scattered there. Moreover, as AI technology has become too economical to afford now, such is widely found in microprocessors furthering edge computing, IoT gadgets and in other heavy duty machinery installed in smart factories.
Besides, computer vision driven by AI is also harped upon to gather perception from video footage of such glossy manufacturing units.
Citing an example of Drishti’s analysis filtered through AI technology which centre around manual assembly lines and is instrumental for skill-building in workforce, to bring defected pieces down, to re-adjust production process and so forth.
- Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality:
Such applications enable use cases that are way distinct and when it comes to on-job-training, such bear relevance to develop key skills. Especially, in present pandemic hit times, reliance on AR and VR has been tremendous, for the purpose of training and for gathering competence from faraway locations for mending, instructions etc.
An apt example is mixed-reality HoloLens 2 goggles from Microsoft, with which a worker can be guided and goaded by an expert sitting at other location or city but who is virtually (and literally) perceived by worker’s eyes and ears.
- Autonomous Robotics:
We now observe a wide stretched usage of robotics in manufacturing units to be called as smart and in fact, in diverse activities, such are prominent. Especially, cobots gain wider acceptance due to tough rules concerning social distancing. Invariably, robots and automated devices are designed with varied levels of AI and such also have different capacities related to decision making, sensing, communication and to be mobile. However, it is mostly seen that robotic frameworks are basically designed for data collection and are connected with cloud and contribute to the smart factory at large.
- Additive / Hybrid Manufacturing:
A supreme addition to smart manufacturing set-ups, such boost frequent prototyping and pushes conventional manufacturing to new horizons and are now considered for construction of medium sized buildings and bridges as well. Now, preparations are underway to implement this in large scale production as well. Besides, there has also sprung up the concept of hybrid manufacturing that is an amalgamation of metal additive manufacturing and subtractive manufacturing to be present on a same machine, intently to bring down the wastage of raw material and to ramp up production too.
- Framework Replete With Big Data:
Every single factor which contributes to manufacturing to be called smart, is being harped upon by Big Data while in certain scenarios, data simply acts like an instance of modern day technology. Machines are replenished with crisp data, in fact, this is data, which is pivot and prepares groundwork for smartness for technology. Consequently, smartness instilled in manufacturing fuels machine learning while utilizing cloud for data storage and processing. However, big data also unlocks other areas for smart manufacturing to flourish, leaving factory floor behind, that results in apt decision-making in logistics, making risk assessment delicate, by breaking costs, laying down further strategies for growth, ensuring quality control, unleashing sales patter and much more one could think of.
Cloud computing has arrived, IoT sensors capturing data and storing it for further analysis through AI/ML powered algorithms on servers which can be scattered at various locations. Sans doubt, cloud can accomplish a bevy of tasks to let smart manufacturing prevail, such as, Volkswagen Industrial Cloud wherein data sourced from different locations is combined and synergized for swift processing to generate actionable and reliable insights in a timely manner. Volkswagen still hopes to connect such dots further with 30 thousand locations and 1500 suppliers placed globally, under the umbrella of industrial cloud and to usher in smart-manufacturing software arena.
- CNC Machining:
Standing on behalf of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) such are high-decibel devices utilized for lathing, milling, cutting, drilling and have proved to be immensely useful in CAM (computer aided manufacturing) software. Now, when utilized for smart manufacturing, such have wireless sensors linked to IoT framework.
- Crafting Design For Amenable Manufacturing:
Often regarded as design for manufacturing or design for manufacturing and assembly, such is a high-tech designing framework laying way for prefabrication with preset designing options. As such, manufacturing components and devices are developed with a view to make manufacturing process swift and economical. Such parts are designed using CAD and CAM based applications.
IoT refers to a mesmerizing network comprising machines, robots and certain other devices meant for smart-manufacturing and there are sensors operating wirelessly and connected to such network to provide data for useful subsequent analysis. Now, as prices of sensors and processors go down, IoT devices and framework become a usual sight to find, wherein computing is performed locally on-site before such gets uploaded onto cloud. This is the instance of Edge-computing and we happen to uncover one more term and associated network typical to industrial scenario which is IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), teeming with IoT devices particularly installed and meant for production lines and which have power to execute pre-determined decision making, provided, specific stream of data input and this has proved to be economical and reduces waste as well.
- Simulation / Digitally Combined Twins:
Finally, simulation software is widely put into use intently to craft “digital twins” representing actual parts and products and this enables a wide variety of tasks such as testing, validating, optimizing the would-be product, before actually producing it. Now mincing words, simulation carries greater value as the digital twin (virtual version) gets close to the actual product to be managed and examined in physical form and in reality later on.