Over the past decade, unprecedented occurrences have challenged industrial operations. Of course, the recent COVID-19 pandemic is one glaring example. In addition to the impact it has had on society, the virus has shattered the conventional process of working in industry.
To cope with the challenges, industry is required to act fast to address the situation to maintain a sustainable business. The 2010s also witnessed another, more long-term disruption: the change in demand for more personalized products and services. Earlier such disruptions also occurred with each Industrial Revolution, and the organizations that reacted faster and migrated to innovative and flexible processes have endured.
Adopting changing requirements with flexibility is a guidepost for Industry 4.0. The next wave, Industry 5.0, has also emerged recently. Industry 5.0 has a more collaborative approach than Industry 4.0, including even more collaboration between humans and robots.
While the theme of Industry 4.0 revolves around connectivity through cyber-physical systems, Industry 5.0—while also aligned with platforms made possible by Industry 4.0—also addresses the relationship between "man and machine," otherwise known as robots or cobots. Industry 4.0 laid the groundwork for human/machine collaboration, as well as machine-to-machine collaboration and connectivity between the plant, logistics, supply chain management, and the end user. Digital integration now promises to connect all stakeholders under a common platform.
In addition to these pieces, Industry 5.0 integrates human creativity and robotic precision, working toward a unique solution that will be the demand of the next decade. Together, Industry 4.0 and 5.0 have created a roadmap that industries must follow in order to endure.
Industry 4.0 and 5.0 both address basic considerations:
- Cyber-physical systems that connect the world: Connecting man, machine, information and organization for integrated operation
- New technology-driven approach: Adopting disruptive technologies to help adapt products to changing requirements
- Digital twins: Simulation and testing before actual implementation to ensure product precision and faster execution without bottlenecks
- Asset performance management: Used for real-time plant and equipment diagnosis to predict and plan convenient maintenance schedules and eliminate unplanned shutdowns
- Product life cycle management: Used to integrate and simulate the compatibility of all components of a new product in real-time, and to plan for a successful launch
- IIoT-driven total automation: Integrates plant, logistics, and supply chain management
- Man/machine collaboration: Collaborative robots enable better precision, faster execution, personification of products, and minimization of wastes
- Digital transformation: Enables a connected process between plant, supply chain, OEMs, customers, and all other stakeholders to ensure quality, availability of products, a proper feedback system, and customization of products, ensuring continuity and a sustainable process
- Cybersecurity: Ensures a risk-free cyber-physical platform with continuously upgraded, strong security standards
It is widely suggested that the industries headed toward digital transformation within the footprint of Industry 4.0 and 5.0 may experience job losses in their regular workforce—but this might not be true. The transformation is likely to create more opportunities in other emerging domains, such as robotic process automation (RPA) or data warehousing. The workforce needs to upgrade themselves to newer, relevant skill sets to obtain better opportunities. Continuous training and workforce development will be necessary to bridge gaps between available talent and the most pressing needs.
Some of the new technology that will create opportunities for digital development and customization has been outlined by Bernard Marr in his article, "The Top 10 Technology Trends Of The 4th Industrial Revolution." The same is expressed below:
- Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
- The Internet of Things (IoT)
- Big Data
- Cloud & Edge Computing
- Robots & Cobots
- Autonomous Vehicles
- Genomics & Gene Editing
- Quantum Computing
These technologies will transform our world, and they will never stop evolving. The creation and retention of a fast-learning, adaptive, and dynamic talent pool will be the prime requirement for companies wishing to differentiate themselves from others.
To remain future-fit, industry needs to invest and transform toward totally digitally integrated processes. Before COVID-19, we had not noticed a significant investment in the adoption of Industry 4.0 and 5.0. The recent pandemic has shaken up the entire industrial scenario, however, and has forced many organizations to embrace digital transformation.
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About the Author
Sugata Bandyopadhyay is a consultant and an engineering manager at Tata Consulting Engineers Limited. He is a senior member of the International Society of Automation (ISA) and a fellow at the Institution of Engineers India (IEI).