When most people think of manufacturing, they picture factories and assembly lines as they looked 10, 20, or even 50 years ago. But reality may soon look very different from this image. New technology is changing the face of manufacturing.
In a recent post, we talked about Industry 4.0—a shift in technology taking place within the manufacturing industry that’s so significant it’s being compared to the Industrial Revolution. While this shift hasn’t impacted every manufacturing company yet, it’s definitely beginning to spread as more organizations (large, medium, and small) adopt innovative new technology to improve tasks, processes, and operations.
This Interesting Engineering article explores some of the ways technology is transforming the manufacturing industry. Along with recounting a brief history of industrial development, it dives into some of the technologies at the heart of this latest “revolution”—such as the industrial internet of things (IIoT), big data and analytics, and cloud computing.
The article also defines a handful of new tech terms making their way into the manufacturing world with the advent of Industry 4.0, which include:
- M2M (Machine-to-Machine) – The communication between two or more machines through a network
- Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) – A manufacturing environment where every aspect of the process includes data collection and analysis to make sure everything is operating at optimum efficiency; also known as cyber manufacturing
- Smart Factory – The “factory of the future” incorporating IIoT, big data and analytics, cloud computing, robotics, and more—with the ability to adapt and learn in real time
Major innovations to the manufacturing industry like the smart factory won’t happen overnight. But big technological changes are on the horizon. If you’re a manufacturing company, it’s not a bad idea to start exploring ways your company can take even a small step forward with tools like analytics and cloud computing.