The era of smart factories will revolutionize the production (QN 27/04/2016)


An article of Andrea Telara published by Quotidiano Nazionale on 27/04/2016.


The era of smart factories will revolutionize the production
Less costs and more efficiency

Industria40Some call it Industry 4.0, others prefer instead Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is a phenomenon that probably, in the decades to come, will transform the way we produce almost all over the world or at least in the most economically advanced countries, from the United States to China, including Europe.

In the XVIII century the First Industrial Revolution introduced the steam engine, the second used electric power and the third information technologies. Now, according to several economists, we are on the brink of a fourth revolution, based on an even more complex phenomenon: the development of the Internet of things, that is, the possibility to put online physical objects and to make them communicate, including the most sophisticated ones such as industrial machinery.

Thanks to this innovation, industrial machinery doesn’t only manufacture the products automatically, carrying out already planned work, but it also becomes smart: machines receive data and information and they store, elaborate and transmit them via the Internet to all departments.
Thus, a more flexible way of making industry and producing goods or services is developing. This is a way able to adapt quickly to change, to provide the necessary inputs to the specialists and managers in order to increase the efficiency of the plant and also to reduce energy consumption.

If applied on a large scale, these innovations can lead to an industrial revolution. Planning the industry or the factory 4.0 for companies does not just mean to change the structure of the plants. Often, companies also need to rethink their relationships with suppliers and affiliated retailers, collaborating more closely and exchanging information with them, with the goal of streamlining their distribution chain (as was done by the German multinational Bosch Rexroth).

In addition to the internet of things, they make their way into the factory 4.0 other technologies such as the cloud computing, that allows you to save information without storing it in physical devices like computer hard disks, using in their place a software or the space available on the internet network.

Another technology that is emerging in the Industry 4.0 is that of big data, i.e. the collection and analysis of an immense amount of data, through the use of highly advanced computer systems.
These technologies can then be combined with other advanced tools such as 3D printers or wearable devices, for example sophisticated watches or sensors that workers and specialists can wear during the working day and always bring to the different departments of the factory to gather information about the work environment and the production activities: for instance, information about indoor temperature, energy consumption, operation of some plants.




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