Many, many companies and executives are confused by Industry 4.0. At the root of that confusion is that many think that Industry 4.0 is the future. In fact, it is happening now. Rolls-Royce's Hamid Mughal said, "Industry 4.0 is not something that’s going to come in the future, it’s here already. There’s a level of smartness in everything that we do already." In practice, Industry 4.0 is all about having visibility into the machines on your floor, reducing waste, and improving your efficiency.
Talk to any sales or marketing person and they will tell you that digitisation is vital. They will talk about visibility and business insight, the likes of which you can barely imagine. But, what exactly does that mean? The concern is this is just hyperbole to sell industry new stuff. Predictive maintenance was putting sensors on machines and gathering data over a decade ago, so nothing ‘new’ there. For others it’s about bringing the manufacturing IT infrastructure up-to-date. OK, so new stuff tends to work better, but it’s not exactly the revolution we’ve been promised. Well, maybe it’s more about allowing systems to connect with one another… you mean like the internet?! Isn’t there more here, rather than just, what seems to be, evolution of existing systems and practices? Read More