Industry 4.0 is a new stage of the industrial revolution characterized by the full penetration of the Internet and IT technologies. Industry 4.0 implies the use of the Internet of Things and Big Data when devices are linked together and independently find ways to reduce costs.
At the beginning, it is worth presenting examples of the use of advanced industrial technologies in several selected industries. For example, in agriculture, sensors built into the soil are used to check irrigation, isolation, PH level and other conditions for controlling yields, which informs today’s farmers of potential threats, and has an impact on the final size and quality of the yields. In the manufacturing industry, we are talking about machines that can update software, analyze their own wear and tear, predict the breakdowns and improve performance.
All of that is made possible by the Internet of Things, a network of intelligent devices constantly connected with each other; they are informed of potential problems, defects or processes currently being conducted.
The Internet of Things as used in industry is a revolution in itself, because it allows for the creation of intelligent production lines or factories that have the ability to self-regulate, self-learn and optimize processes, all based on data used in a fully automated way, excluding the unreliable “human factor”.
Industry 4.0 Automation Model
Created to support intelligent factories, Reference Architectural Model Industry 4.0(RAMI 4.0) shows the interaction between the factory, the product lifecycle, and IT infrastructure.
On the hierarchical level, RAMI 4.0 uses the same layers as the general automation model, focusing on industrial production as the primary area of application:
1st level, the level of input-output devices (I / O).Includes a set of sensors and data collectors embedded in the machines and designed to collect primary information.
2nd level, direct control.Facilitates direct automatic control of the technological process using industrial controllers like Apacs, DeltaV, Centum, Simatic, etc.
4th level, production management.The MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) system collects information about the processes occurring during production directly from production sites and forwards it on to business departments. This ensures it has an impact on the optimization of processes at the organizational and technology levels.
5th level, MRP/ERP.This level provides solutions for strategic, administrative and logistical tasks.
AlthoughRAMI 4.0might be difficult to interpret, its three-dimensional structure and supporting technologies demonstrate a vast number ofIndustry 4.0 solutions. Factories and plants all over the world are taking advantage of digitalized manufacturing and achieving significant improvements in their KPIs by implementing the RAMI 4.0 structure. Below are examples.
Successfully Implemented Solutions
Cascade, a manufacturer of paper, cardboard and textile products, has 17 plants all over the world, nearly 90 processing lines and several dozen paper machines. The company decided to upgrade its existing MES system to a more advanced one which can present data in real time. The company required new architecture to support machines and make communications completely transparent across all production lines and at various enterprises within the group.
Cascade used an OPC server which enabled the exchange of data with any of the machines in production, where almost 500 PLCs are installed. As a result, the company has improved operational efficiency by 5% and provided the basis for simple scalability of its new systems in the future.
The example of Cascade illustrates the Industry 4.0 paradigm represented byaccess to data, real-time management and intelligent production optimization. A few more examples:
Thames Water, the UK’s leading water utility company, uses sensors, analytics, and real-time data to anticipate disruptions and respond more quickly to critical situations such as leaks or issue warnings about changes in weather.
Apache Corporation, a leading oil and gas producer, uses this approach to monitor pumping stations. Thanks to this, the company has increased oil production by an additional $19 billion a year.
Predictive service is one of the top trends in industry.Solutions brought about by Industry 4.0 helped Cascade, Thames Water and Apache Corporation to improve their existing technology and ensure the uninterrupted work.
Industry 4.0: How to Succeed
Even though digitalized manufacturing has proven its efficiency to a number of industry leaders, implementing Industry 4.0 solutions may be challenging, especially when you lack technical resources. Specialists must possess hands-on experience in Open Core Engineering, cloud computing,cyber–physical systemsor PLC programming.
However, there is an option for companies which are determined to bring the manufacturing process to a brand new digital level using the latest technological capabilities such ascooperation with external partners. Hiring an outsourced workforce can be a smart move, taking into the account the overall level of qualifications and experience of implementation which you get in return. Other advantages are reduced costs of staff education and quick access to a professional team.
JCommerce professionals deliverIndustry 4.0 solutionsfor companies from countries such as Switzerland and Belgium, and from different types of manufacturing industries. Savvy PLC engineers, business analysts and project managers work according to the described RAMI 4.0 model to enable the development of intelligent industrial platforms.JCommerce is thus able to implement advanced projects in a safe and thoughtful way, reducing the risk of failure during the implementation of control systems. Our clients do not merely receive a “new control system”. They receive confidence, flexibility, scalability and manageability of the production process, with full supervision, measurable savings and intelligent control. This is how Industry 4.0 works.