A term "Industry4.0" was used for the first time in 2011 at Hanover Messe to describe the
widespread integration of information and communication technologies in industrial manufacturing. Although the term has since been used in all cases, few practitioners understand exactly what this is all about and where their factories are on the path of digital development. In the meantime, the extension of the entire conceptual system by Industry 5.0 has been introduced to include the newest trends and insights, however many of manufacturers are still fighting in the field of Industry 3.0.
In order to structure companies' aspirations to achieve the fullness of a smart factory and to help them in planning their own transformation, the different stages of digitalization have been named.
Own elaboration based on Industrie 4.0 Maturity Index. Managing the Digital Transformation of Companies – UPDATE 2020 - acatech - National Academy of Science and Engineering.
Level 1 is computerization, it is engaging computers to collect data and automate manufacturing processes. However, the software is not integrated - it is a set of single islands rather than a cooperating organism. Achieving connectivity of applications and devices by means of different protocols leads to Level 2. Connecting different software enables data transfer and data unity.
The level 3 of digitalization (Visibility) refers to digital shadow (or twin) of the factory - when thanks to sensors on the machines and connectivity of devices you can have a transparent real-time picture on what is going on in the manufacturing processes. This means that management decisions can be made on real and actual data. The next 4th level (Transparency) enhances the possibilities from observing what is happening to understanding why it is happening. This is possible thanks to the newest technologies enabling to analyzing enormous data sets (BigData) and inferencing based on them.
The 5th level - Predictive Capacity - means ability of simulating future processes and choose the more likely ones. Thanks to this, the manufacturer can reduce number of unexpected events and prevent failures, however this still must be done manually. The highest, 6th level of digitalization is Adaptability, which means introducing automated decision making. Delegating decisions to IT systems enable to make them quicker and in the most optimal way. The aim of this level is to use the data from the factory's digital twin to make decisions that have the best possible results in the shortest possible time
and to implement the corresponding solutions automatically, i.e. without assistance of workers.
The levels from 3 to 6 are the ones which are defining the industry of tomorrow (Industry4.0), however majority of production companies operates still within the reality of Industry3.0. The highest levels of digitalization are difficult to achieve and requires state-of-the art solutions, but primarily the knowledge of managers and determination to use them. We believe that now is the time to prepare your businesses for future challenges, especially that the new concepts are arising such as Industry 5.0. These are concentrated on humans - robot cooperation, sustainability, human centric attitude, collaborative robotics and AI solutions. In MeMOM we follow all of them.
So assess where you are on the digitalization path and prepare yourself for tomorrow!