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3 min. read
Patrick Smits
Last update: 23-06-2021

How to get ready for industry 4.0 in manufacturing

Industry 4.0 is causing significant changes in industrial sectors in Europe, USA and Asia. The fourth industrial revolution is a combination of technologies that offer new services and values to customers and organisations. Elsevier recently introduced a model to measure the degree of readiness of a manufacturing organization with regard to the implementation of Industry 4.0.

But what does industry 4.0 mean? How can you take advantage of industry 4.0? And how can you get ready or accelerate your industry 4.0 journey?

Get ready for industry 4.0 in manufacturing Get ready for industry 4.0 in manufacturing

Industry 4.0 definition

Industry 4.0 is the trend towards automation and data exchange in production technologies and processes. Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the components of the industry 4.0 trend and is nothing more than connecting all things in the world to the internet to collect and exchange data.

Industry 4.0 is rooted in advanced manufacturing or also called Smart Manufacturing. This concept implies an adaptable system where flexible lines automatically adjust production processes for multiple types of products and changing conditions.

The benefits of Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 allows to increase quality, productivity and flexibility and can help to achieve customized products at a large scale in a sustainable way with a lower resource consumption.

Industry 4.0 enabling technologies Industry 4.0 enabling technologies

The 5 enabling technologies of Industry 4.0

These five key technologies are the cornerstones of industry 4.0:

  1. The Internet of Things (IoT): communication among all objects and devices
  2. Cloud computing: provides easy access to information and services
  3. Robotics and automation: increase productivity and scalabilty with reduced cost structure
  4. Big data: all data gathered from industrial systems and objects, such as sensors
  5. Analytics: helps optimize decision-making activities in every dimension of an industrial business.

The combination of using IoT and Cloud permits connected equipment and big data collection, which can be used for advanced analytics. These five mentioned technologies enable Working remotely, Smart Manufacturing, Smart Supply Chain and Smart Products

These methods are examples of where the collected industry 4.0 data and analytics are applied:

  • Cyber-physical systems: a system in which a mechanism is controlled or monitored by computer-based algorithms
  • Autonomous robots: are robots that perform tasks with a high degree of autonomy without external influence
  • Predictive maintenance: continuously determines the condition of equipment in order to estimate when maintenance should be performed
  • Artificial intelligence: a device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximise the chances of achieving the intended goal.

Industry 4.0 and IoT are transforming from idea to reality. Companies around the world are figuring out how to implement and take advantage of these ideas and building on their industry 4.0 strategy. 

The challenge of industry 4.0

The most important drivers of industry 4.0 are big data and analytics. They are a key source of competitive advantage for the future of a company. The first hurdle is to connect your equipment to the cloud and start to collect data. Your next challenge is thinking about the information you can generate from the collected data and how it can be used to optimise processes, service and machines.

If you haven't even started using IoT and cloud yet, follow these four steps to get your 4.0 initiative up and running quickly and easily. Tip: Think big, start small.

The essentials of industrial IoT The essentials of industrial IoT

The 4 steps from digitalisation to Industry 4.0 implementation

According to the industrial IoT maturity model, the roadmap from digitalisation to industry 4.0 implementation comprises of these 4 steps:

  1. IoT connectivity and cloud
    First connect your industrial equipment to a cloud or Industrial IoT platform.
  2. Data analyses
    Next start with logging essential data and visualise it in dashboards.
  3. Predictive capacity
    The third step is to utilize data for pro-active servicing using alarms and maintenance notifications.
  4. Intelligence
    The fourth step is to apply intelligent solutions for autonomous responses (e.g. machine learning and A.I.).

Because IoT is the first and main enabler for industry 4.0, we listed 10 tips to help your company move forward implementing it.

The ultimate guide to boost your industry 4.0 implementation

In this guide you’ll find 10 tips to quick-start your IoT implementation.

((Download free tips))

10 tips to quick-start your industrial iot implementation


Sources: The degree of readiness for the implementation of industry 4.0, Industry 4.0 technologies: implementation patterns in manufacturing companies