The concept of Industry 4.0 represents a major change for most organizations. Since many of them became stuck during the pandemic, they took their chances and betted on the digital transformation of their company. They did this to increase productivity, improve efficiency and product quality in order to stay competitive in the market.

This new stage of the Industrial Revolution aims at automation, connectivity, and globalization.  

This stage also seeks to transform traditional companies into smart factories to achieve better results, increase productivity and reduce losses.  

Ten Smart Manufacturing Technologies: 

Smart technologies are always evolving. In this article, we will let you know which ten technologies are key to the future. 

1. AI / Machine Learning 

AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning go hand-in-hand with data analysis in smart manufacturing since they can process data and identify patterns in the data much faster than people.  

2. Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality 

Currently, they are both key for machinists’ practical training in order to help them put an end to their growing knowledge deficit. With augmented reality, a technician can monitor equipment in real time and provide specific instructions to solve a problem. 

Besides, adding AI and augmented reality to daily operations helps improve operational efficiency, train staff members and achieve productivity goals.  

With augmented reality, you will be able to predict breakdowns and improve efficiency and operations security in your supply chain. 

3. Automation 

Through IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), Industry 4.0 automation technologies control, connect and monitor machines, equipment networks, devices, and cloud-stored information in real time. In this way, they learn, operate and function automatically, reducing human intervention to the maximum possible extent while optimizing production.  

The main goal of automation is to manufacture the highest number of products in as little time as possible, thus reducing costs and ensuring product quality. 

If you implement automation at your plant, you will achieve optimal results, such as: increasing productivity, optimizing product quality, providing more accurate information, reducing both costs and machine breakdowns and improving security. 

4. Additive Manufacturing 

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, deals with the simple idea of turning a digital model into a three-dimensional solid object.   

3D printing is a rapid process for creating prototypes and mass-producing customized products. It is also a technology which allows for the creation of complex geometries that were not possible with other manufacturing processes. Besides, it is a digital manufacturing technology that does not require tool replacements when inspecting units, which is why there is no machine downtime between product inspection and the manufacturing of new products.   

5. Big Data Analysis 

Data-driven smart manufacturing is the foundation of machine learning, and it depends on the cloud for data storage and processing. 

But Big Data is also key to other processes of smart manufacturing that take place beyond the plant itself. For instance, Big Data reports on the decisions made in logistics, risk assessment, cost structures, development strategies, quality control and improvement, customized manufacturing, and other sales patterns, and even after-sales services. 

6. Cloud Computing 

Cloud computing makes it possible to store and analyze data coming from IoT sensors with AI / machine learning algorithms on off-site servers. The data collected during this process is stored in the cloud and processed on remote servers. That is to say that the device which access the cloud does not require too many resources to do so.  

7. CNC Machining 

A machining center is an automated machine which can perform multiple machining tasks in a facility with the help of computer numerical control (CNC) and minimum human intervention. Frequently, CNC smart manufacturing machines possess wireless sensors as part of their IoT. 

8. Design for Manufacturing 

Design for manufacturing is a design methodology that enables and optimizes prefabrication through a set of design choices and principles. Products and parts are specifically designed for manufacturing. This methodology makes manufacturing processes easier and more profitable. Design for manufacturing uses specialized CAD (computer-aided design) and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) software for design and production. 

9. IoT (Internet of Things) 

IoT aims to connect physical objects and reality with Internet and cloud applications to make our lives easier at a personal and professional level. It enables communication between processes, things, and people. 

Through data provided by devices, companies can learn more about their client’s situation, problems, and interests. Besides, if a company possesses more data, it will be able to manufacture more customized goods and provide more customized services. 

10. Simulation / Digital Twin 

Smart manufacturing uses simulation software to create digital twins of physical parts and products. These digital twins can be tested, validated, and optimized digitally before the product is manufactured. The closer the digital twin gets to a precise physical representation of the physical object, the more valuable the simulation.  

Current Challenge

However, the biggest challenge is not related to technology, it has to do with knowing how to accurately transition into a smart factory and how to make the most of the new opportunities that the Industry 4.0’s concept has to offer.  

We Help You Turn your Company Into a Smart Factory 

4i Platform leads the way towards smart manufacturing. Our company guides you through the digital transformation of your company in a simple and fast way so as to increase productivity at your plant with innovative technologies.  

«Get to know our IoT solutions and beat the market. The future is already here! »

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About the Author

Cesar Agostino

Hardware and Software Design Leader in 4i Platform.

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