The first industrial revolution was the mechanization of production using water and steam power. The industrial revolution 2.0 reshaped the world by introducing mass production with the help of electric power. This is followed by the digital revolution and the use of electronics and IT to further automate production.
A new revolution is gaining strength and beginning to shape the 21st century – Industrial Revolution 4.0 powered by Internet of things (IoT). It combines the advancements in communications, IT, data and physical elements to transform traditional plants into smart factories. Also, the speed of Revolution 4.0 is brutal due to its digital and exponential nature.
Manufacturing has always been about creating a better product faster and more efficiently. Since the 50s, the focus has been on efficiency and productivity through hardware. Now with software in the driver’s seat, manufacturers are looking at offering more than just products and focusing on new business models based on service.
IoT and the new “services” centric manufacturing
For instance, a tyre manufacturer embeds sensors and intelligent microchips, which can interact with the car’s onboard computer. It sends information like pressure, temperature and other parameters that affect stability. The onboard computer kicks in algorithms that enhance driving performance and safety. Thus the company not just sells tyres but provides mobility and safety of tyers as a service.
Our recent engagement with a machine tool manufacturer had a similar approach. They manufacture conventional and special machines, which generate massive amount of data ranging from cutting speed, cutting depth, feed rate, etc. to tool micro wear, part quality, electrical and pneumatic loads. etc. This massive amount of data gathered is then transformed into actionable insights that help analyze reason for failure, reasons for hit in productivity and act valuable when it comes to preventive maintenance & services in the long run. Thus, IoT provides a whole new basis for sellable and billable services instead of products.
Right from personalization of mass produced products to offering predictive maintenance, IoT has a huge influence in transforming every aspect of the manufacturing landscape.