As one of the oldest industries in human history, manufacturing is the most vital component of modern day commerce. With the advances in cyber-physical systems, traditional manufacturing techniques and old business models are being phased out. Part of Industry 4.0 is a new ecosystem harnessing new technologies to create smarter factories that revolutionize the manufacturing industry.
Automation and Data Exchange
Industry 4.0 encompasses all the current trends of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes sub-components such as cyber-physical systems, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and cognitive computing (also known as Artificial Intelligence, or AI).
In a new manufacturing ecosystem, industry 4.0 also incorporates end-to-end Logistics, supply chain management, and advanced data analytics using smart sensor data. All these internal components can also function on the blockchain, a secure decentralized data storage and sharing system.
Internet of Things for M2M Communication
IoT enables machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. IoT devices connected to a network share operation data between themselves, which eases automation in a factory. Furthermore, data obtained from IoT devices, such as smart sensors, can be used to improve the performance of individual components in factory machinery.
IoT devices have built-in sensors that enable them to connect to the internet and to each other through wireless networks. In manufacturing, any device can be turned into an IoT device. A factory boiler can be fitted with a smart thermostat that can control it while collecting temperature data. The collected data can be used to improve the efficiency of these interconnected machines.
IoT involves data sharing and sometimes automated transactions, which is possible using smart contracts on the blockchain. Blockchain plays a big role in securing shared and decentralized databases, creating a proper platform for IoT data. Additionally, blockchain can help IoT devices create and process transactions without intervention from human intermediaries, freeing up manufacturing companies to focus on high-level tasks that require human involvement.
Using? End-to-end Supply Chain Logistics in complex industrial systems, a need for a proper supply chain management system arises. A supply chain is a system of companies, people, activities, information, and resources involved in moving a product from suppliers to consumers. Managing a supply chain involves a lot of data exchange between various parties.
Traditional supply chain management involved a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy, which often caused delays.. To eliminate these unnecessary delays, the industry can leverage blockchain technology to enable transparent flows of information. The benefits that blockchain brings to supply chain management include:
● Reduced costs
● Secure payment verification
● Automated delivery
End-to-end solutions entail every stage in a particular process, often without requiring a third party. It is based on the principle that eliminates as many middle intermediaries or unnecessary steps as possible to optimize performance and efficiency. End-to-end solutions are applicable in technology development and deployment, supply chain systems, procurement, logistics, distribution, and warehouse storage.
Blockchain provides a decentralized information platform where different transacting parties can share vital business information. Furthermore, blockchain can optimize the internal operation of logistics businesses. Improvements in the transport and communication sectors enable easier deployment of real-time tracking devices and reduces loss of products due to picking errors, theft, or mishandling.
Advanced Data Analytics
Each factory stores a large amount of data over time and the industry comprises of thousands of factories. Manufacturing systems are complex systems that can only be developed over time. Since IoT enables data collection and sharing, there is a need for an advanced data analysis system.
As an industry, millions of bits of data is generated every second. There is so much data that human interpretation of these data is not feasible. An advanced data analytics system becomes necessary in the Industry 4.0 era. With the help of blockchain technology and machine learning, data from smart sensors are collected and processed in a way that humans can quickly interpret in order to make sound business decisions.