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Industry 4.0: an Overall Review

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The term Industry 4.0 can be considered an invention of the German government, during a strategic committee organized for plan future perspectives and strategies up to 2020. Therefore, why do we call it industry 4.0?

Now, we are going to review in brief the history of each industrial revolution during the time and which are their features. The first industrial revolution started at the end of 18th century and it was based on the introduction of mechanical functions powered by water and steam. Through the discover of electrical energy, thus new machines, and the parceling of work for each worker started the second industrial revolution at the beginning of the 20th century. Recently, it was introduced the automation of entire parts of the production processes in all industry sectors based on chip and electrical circuit, this is the third industrial revolution began in 1970s. Nowadays, the world is going to face a new industrial revolution called Industry 4.0, which is based on Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) in production, and the ability of firms of manage a huge quantity of data and information, and make it attainable for all stakeholders that need it. The aim of CPS is to improve the productivity and efficiency, developing capabilities able to manage uncertainties and fast reply to dynamic requirements of production. Therefore, CPS alone is not able to make possible the fourth industrial revolution, in fact there are other important technologies that are considered as basis of Industry 4.0 such ad Big Data, , Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Internet of Things (IoT) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).Given the aim of Industry 4.0 in term of resource efficiency and gain productivity, we can observe which are the main features on which is based this new concept. Optimization of all process inside a firm through digitization, in order to reach each customer one of the main pillar is the customization of product and production which is possible with a prudent management and communication of data. So, advanced technologies and algorithms are the starting point of the revolution, for a full comprehensive of Industry 4.0 we have to intend a new method based on value adding activities and knowledge distribution. In the next paragraph, we are going to conduct a literature review based on the main search engine such as Scopus and Google scholar. The aim is to give the status, content and findings of the research from an academic point of view.

The state of the art

In this section, we are going to report the main thinking about Industry 4.0 of different Scholars. Mainly Industry 4.0 is seen as a complex system able to connect physical machinery and stations, based on sensors and calculation software with Humans in order to plan the future business and react to dynamic environment that surround the system. The last authors introduce a new concept, Smart Factories which are the result of Industry 4.0. The embedded technology remains CPS, through a modular system monitor physical processes and makes a virtual copy of all movement inside the Factory in order to permit to singular module to make a decentralized decision. This is totally different from the past because CPS through IOT and the myriad of sensors that compose the Smart Factory is able to communicate and cooperate with all stakeholders of the value chain. In this way at each step participants add value to the value chain in and after the production process. There are a lot of definition about Industry 4.0, but there is not an definitely one. The fourth industrial revolution leads to the digitalization of traditionally automated factories, this start with (RFID) and ability of track each material, work in process product, and finished product along the supply chain. After that it gives intelligence to each module system in order to permit communication among machine and Humans leading to human-machine interaction paradigm. The final aim is as Smart factory embedded of IOT able to reply to uncertainties with a velocity never seen before and the realization of new business models, products and services do not achievable in the past.

Industry 4.0 poses its basis on the previous technologies but introduces others concepts and technologies which are considered disruptive for all concern production processes, entire supply chain, and method to do business. From the authors studied during my literature review we can summarize a series of principles that distinguish Industry 4.0 are interoperability, virtualization, decentralization, real-time capability, self-organization and modularity. The principles mentioned above lead to different results, in terms of time to market, reducing cost, flexibility, improve productivity and profitability, and finally customization of products through supplying small batches. The main focus of my research is based on a specific technology that is considered the main pillar of industry 4.0. In this section, I am going to introduce the concept, in order to create the basis to talk about the other key technologies that make possible industry 4.0.

Cyber Physical System is a new technology derived from different disciplines such as cybernetics and mechatronic. In fact, it permits to create a stable network and continuing connection between physical world, such as machineries, production stations, warehouses and clients and the virtual world so all concern computing, analysis and forecasting infrastructures. Thus, we can summarize CPS as system of modular entities, which communicate each other, embedded of computational power that use it to track and keep in contact with physical world. The single modules and the central service provide Data-accessing and Data processing this is possible through Wireless, Cloud or more in general on Internet in order to analyze forecast, plan and react to the environment in which it operates. The capability of CPS to give to each module decision-making autonomy make possible to manage data and materials in a totally different way, reaching result never seen before in different field. Factories are able to self-organize them-self reducing near to zero falls in the production process, reducing in this way costs and increasing efficiency, productivity and work-force performance. In this way there will not be faults products rising the quality of them. This is only possible through a cautious analysis and elaboration at each level of information and communication among parties. So, we can conclude that CPS applied to the production process called Cyber Physical Production System CPPS involves all elements of the process workers, work stations, and final products. Combining calculation power, connection to all elements the technology is able to realize a production process based on cost and time efficiency with a better quality of the final product without losing anything through the value chain.

Pillars of Industry 4.0

During the brief introduction, we have seen that Industry 4.0 leverages factories to an higher level of automation, but into specific digitization thank you to a series of important technologies considered pillars of Industry 4.0. The main feature of this revolution consists in make possible a network of sensors, machines, workpieces, and products. The connected modules elaborate real-time data, so a huge amount of data, with the aim of making possible a system that self-organize him-self, plan the future and react to uncertainties. Thus, the capacity of manage and develop consistent algorithm able to analyze data and information among the value chain consists in one of the main challenges for Industry 4.0Now, we are going to explore those technologies which are considered building blocks of Industry 4.0. taking into account which are their features and potential benefits that can lead to the firms that adopt them, taking into account some example.

Making Business is going to become even more complex and based on exchange a huge amount of information, especially in Industry 4.0. Data are even more motley and make difficult the prosperity of industries. Big Data, taken into consideration as data storage, data classification, and data mining is one of the main pillar to conduct firms to the fourth industrial revolution. For instance, Infineon Technologies has developed and accumulated data about the production process in the safer way, without faults. In this way, the Company is able to identify products that come out from the safe way in time reducing faults and increasing product quality.

During the third industrial revolution autonomous robots were introduced in the production process, in order to perform heavy and complex work. Therefore, the new challenge for Industry 4.0 is to make them more autonomous that they are, and make possible interaction among them. So, we can synthetize in one word cooperative robots with their similar and with humans. In the second chapter, we will see a simulation of the construction of a satellite. In fact, the aim of this technology is to take real-time data and mirror it into the virtual world, allowing to better organize the engineering phase but specially the operation phase. Reducing the machine setup times, time inconsistency and increasing the quality of the final product. Internet of things (IOT) decide the growth and the level of importance that Industry 4.0 can assume inside each industry sector. The main ability of IOT is to link machines with other machines and those one with humans. In order to make possible a network where data, information and knowledge are exchanged among and inside organizations. As we said before information will be the pillar of future development of any company. In fact, this change will lead to a better efficiency and productivity of value long the entire value chain. Because all this will change completely the relation among producer, customer and supplier. Think about the relation between manufacturer and customer, an IOT inside a CPS system is able to offer to the client specific and personalized products. In fact the client make the order online on the web site, after the web communicate the information with the plant trough wireless. After that the facility second the information received, plan and execute at the better condition possible in term of efficiency and quality the production of the product. Smart factory characterized by the feature of self-organization and self-optimization are able to give the product to the customer at better quality and at lower lead time. Thus, IOT give to each device that compose the factory computing power in order to communicate and interact among them. In order to decentralize analysis and decision making permitting to react to uncertainties.

For instance Bosch Rexroth realized a production plant where workpieces and products are identified by radio frequency identification codes (RFID). In this way, workstation know which manufacturing step has to be done and at what time.

Today all companies use cloud for storage and software based on cloud. But Industry 4.0 requires analytics application and data sharing on cloud, in order to faster the capability of reply to the environment and across company’s boundaries. This is possible because in the last years the technology has been improved. In fact, data about the work done by machines and their status are exported on cloud, thus all regard the process of monitor and control can be putted on cloud.

In the last years entering into the market technologies such as 3-D printing, those are called additive manufacturing technologies. Usually they are used to plan prototype and product, but in a more comprehensive view they could be used to produce customized products in small batches and in addition come even more near to customer reducing transportation costs and logistic problems correlated. Companies in Industry 4.0 will always be connected online, from this point start the need to protect industrial systems and manufacturing plants from cyber threats and attack as we have never seen before. In this context Cybersecurity is introduced through the realization of secure communications and safety access users.

Applications of industry 4.0

In the first paragraphs, we have seen in general which are the features that Industry 4.0 is able to give to a factory, that adopt all technologies mentioned above. It is possible to synthetize as self-organization, self-adaptation, self-optimization all with the aim of improving efficiency and effectiveness. Thus, everything that adopt this kind of technology we can consider “smart”, this is the name, that academic literature give to the thing object of the fourth industrial revolution. During my dissertation I will be focused on all concern the production process and so the part of manufacturing and Smart factories, through the application of Cyber physical System (CPS) in production that will be studied in deep in the second chapter. Therefore, this is not the only one possible application, in fact for instance industry 4.0 can make “smart” products and cities. Starting from Industry 4.0 applied to factories. We can observe digitized production plants characterized by computational power given by the application of Cyber physical system. Therefore, machines and humans communicate among them thank you to IOT and produce an huge amount of data, which are elaborated by Big Data along the entire value chain. In this way we can see an efficient and dynamic production process that reduce costs and improves efficiency and product quality. The final aim of all this effort is an improvement in term of resource efficiency and an impressive growth in productivity. In Industry 4.0 we call Smart product all those objects or services that are embedded of sensors, connected on cloud, remote control and monitoring in order to permit to people to be connected and communicate with products. Products more involved in this kind of revolution are those that operate in the field of work and learning experience.

Finally, the possible result of Industry 4.0, but this is a futuristic idea is the creation of Smart city. They are based on new concept of mobility, sharing economy, eco-friendly and a new way of living called smart-living. This is based on interconnection of people through internet, sensors and telecommunication network in order to create a sharing knowledge economy. This is totally futuristic, but people in smart city become key stakeholders sharing information and companies become partners. The final objective of this revolutionary city can be synthetize in a better quality of life for all people in term of wealth, security and resource efficiency.

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