Industry 4.0 

What is "Industry 4.0"? And how can it help your business?

"Industry 4.0" is one of the buzz words that everyone talks about. But how much do you know about it? In this page, we will provide you with the essential information of Industry 4.0 with proven technologies and examples from actual cases.

The 4 industrial revolutions

In the period of 1760 to 1840, the First Industrial Revolution started when people began to use steam power to mechanize their work. It marked the transition from hand production method to machine, the mechanized factory systems and the development of machine tools.

The Second Industrial Revolution, known as the Technological Revolution, happened from the late 19th to the early of 20th century in Europe and United States. Many important inventions were created during this time and their impacts quickly changed the course of industries. Manufacturing became much more productive thanks to assembly line using electric power.

The Third Industrial Revolution began in the 1950s with the introduction of semiconductor, mainframe computing, personal computing and later the Internet.

The change from analog electronic and mechanical devices to digital technology disrupted industries. Production switched to automation processes using electronic and information technology.

Industry 4.0 is a concept that originated in Germany (where it is known as "Industrie 4.0") and is often used to describe data-driven, AI-powered, networked “smart factories” as the harbingers of the fourth industrial revolution. This predicted transition of manufacturing processes and technologies is based on these core principles: 

  • The pervasive networking of people, machines and “things” in physical and virtual realms (i.e. the Internet of Things)
  • Leveraging data through tools and systems that expose the data's value to drive production efficiency and flexibility (i.e. digital transformation)
  • Increasing product quality and improving speed-to-market though pre-production virtual testing 
  • AI-assisted and data-driven planning, production, manufacturing, and maintenance 

Industry 4.0 has no generally agreed upon definition, but concepts frequently associated with it include the Internet of Things (IoT), additive manufacturing, digitalization and integration of data and workflows, remote monitoring, multi-disciplinary engineering, and automation of controls through machine learning and predictive analytics.

(Source: PLM Automation Forum)

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Siemens' offering for Industry 4.0

Digital Enterprise

Digitalization is transforming all areas of our life as well as existing business models. Manufacturing industries can largely benefit from taking advantage of technology trends such as generative design and intelligent models. Production becomes more innovative through additive manufacturing, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, and new service model are being developed with the use of cloud solutions and knowledge automation. In order to enable companies to fully make use of the digitalization potentials, Siemens is offering the Digital Enterprise portfolio – a holistic portfolio of software and automation solutions.

Digital Enterprise

The Digital Enterprise solution portfolio enables industrial companies of all sizes to implement current and future technologies for automation and digitalization. With this portfolio Siemens is uniquely positioned in the market – integrating the virtual and real worlds – by supporting customers’ activities along the entire industrial value chain, from product design through production engineering, operation, and services.

Digital Twin

A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical product or process, used to understand and predict the physical counterpart’s performance characteristics. Digital twins are used throughout the product lifecycle to simulate, predict, and optimize the product and production system before investing in physical prototypes and assets.

 

By incorporating multi-physics simulation, data analytics, and machine learning capabilities, digital twins are able to demonstrate the impact of design changes, usage scenarios, environmental conditions, and other endless variables – eliminating the need for physical prototypes, reducing development time, and improving quality of the finalized product or process.

 

The potential applications for a digital twin depend on what stage of the product lifecycle it models. Generally speaking, there are three types of digital twin – Product, Production, and Performance.

Using digital twins for efficient design of new products

Digital twins can be used to virtually validate product performance, while also showing how your products are currently acting in the physical world. This “product digital twin” provides a virtual-physical connection that lets you analyze how a product performs under various conditions and make adjustments in the virtual world to ensure that the next physical product will perform exactly as planned in the field. It doesn’t matter if you have complex systems and materials – product digital twins help you navigate that complexity to make the best possible decisions. All of this eliminates the need for multiple prototypes, reduces total development time, improves quality of the final manufactured product, and enables faster iterations in response to customer feedback.

Using digital twins in manufacturing & production planning

A production digital twin can help validate how well a manufacturing process will work on the shop floor before anything actually goes into production. By simulating the process using a digital twin and analyzing why things are happening using the digital thread, companies can create a production methodology that stays efficient under a variety of conditions. 

 

The production can be optimized even further by creating product digital twins of all the manufacturing equipment. Using the data from the product and production digital twins, businesses can prevent costly downtime to equipment – and even predict when preventative maintenance will be necessary. This constant stream of accurate information enables manufacturing operations that are faster, more efficient, and more reliable.

Using digital twins capture, analyze, and act on operational data

Smart products and smart plants generate massive amounts of data regarding their utilization and effectiveness. The performance digital twin captures this data from products and plants in operation and analyzes it to provide actionable insight for informed decision making. By leveraging performance digital twins, companies can:

  • Create new business opportunities
  • Gain insight to improve virtual models
  • Capture, aggregate, and analyze operational data
  • Improve product and production system efficiency

The cloud-based, open IoT operating system from Siemens

MindSphere is a powerful ecosystem with data analytics, connectivity capabilities, tools for developers, robust applications and professional services.

 

MindSphere delivers a wide range of device and connectivity protocol options, an innovative development environment now including Mendix, and powerful industry applications with advanced analytics.

 

With MindSphere, the insights generated by the shop floor will be fed back into the entire value chain – right back to product design, which creates a fully closed decision-making loop for the continuous optimization of the production and product in the real world.

Integration & Digitalization of entire Value Chain

The holistic approach from Siemens 

The Digital Enterprise Suite enables manufacturing companies to integrate and digitalize their business processes – including their suppliers. They can start at any point in their value chain, from product design to production planning, production engineering, production execution, and services, and expand the digitalization process step by step.

 

Siemens’ holistic approach for creating Digital Twins offers tangible benefits: You can substantially reduce the number of prototypes you need, predict the performance of the production unit and the products themselves, and ensure you produce what your customers expect.

The Digital Twin in manufacturing companies and machine building

Explore how Digital Twins can help manufacturing and machine building companies in achieving new productivity potential:

References

How digitalization help company to transform their business?

Check out these case studies from Siemens to explore the potential of Industry 4.0