The manufacturing industry is transforming significantly, owing to the advent of Industry 4.0 and its immense applicability for industrial purposes. The technology goes beyond the capabilities of the manufacturing realm, and transcends across to include technologies such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Big Data and Analytics. What needs to be noted here is the fact that this revolution within manufacturing landscape is predominantly rooted in the use of information or data. Big Data has been around for a while now and organizations are successfully leveraging its technology potential to generate insights which help solve their technological impediments.
With the inception of Industry 4.0, Big Data assumed a more critical mantle of enabling the technology by helping furnish actionable insights. The IoT ecosystem makes it possible for machines to gain data intelligence from the surroundings utilizing sensors and related systems. In other words, Industry 4.0 is unimaginable without the utilization of Big Data in this space.
Data has previously been known to reside in silos which would bring no value unless valuable insights are churned out of it. In the latest Industry 4.0 resolution, the aim is to make this data available and accessible for the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) to act upon. Only then have we successfully established an Industry 4.0 ecosystem, where data is being constantly and proactively utilized to execute the manufacturing processes in a much more defined manner.
Data must keep flowing in an Industry 4.0 setup, any break in this transmission can lead to anomalies or discrepancies in the process. An industrial process is culmination of millions of data bytes revolving around production plants, R&D labs, Point of Sales/Customer, suppliers, dealers, and the list goes on. When all this data is available for the MES to act upon, we are truly realizing the idea of a ‘smart factory.’
Application of Big Data in Industry 4.0
The concept of smart factory is closely and deeply associated with Big Data and the related Analytics technologies. The ability to utilize copious amounts of data is critical to an Industry 4.0 setup and assists towards innovation and improvements for an industry and the landscape, as a whole. Big Data Analytics helps companies save millions of buck and time simultaneously by identifying trends and patterns within similar and vast arrays of industrial datasets. Big Data surfaces as a savior for organizations in instances where they want to examine the time difference between data transmitted from two robots. This analysis truly proves fruitful where an estimate is to be made on the efficiency of the robots, to enhance plant productivity.
Additionally, factories collate and analyze part-per-million defect data to identify design flaws in their newly manufactured products, re-enforcing production quality. In such a complex setup, companies strive towards improving time to market. This can only be realized when anomalies or issues are detected before customers perceive it during the first feedback. Basically, Big Data helps spotting the defects at a much earlier stage, say the design phase, so that necessary modifications can be made before the product is marketed. It’s only necessary that we proactively make use of Big Data as we move into an age of complete automation, analytics, and smart factories.
Industry 4.0 is the most defined technology in the manufacturing landscape at the present, and to realize full benefits of this technology it’s mandatory we comprehend and leverage the scope of Big Data. The applications of Big Data in the adoption of this new manufacturing trend are limitless, as the technology enables administrators to calculate the maintenance costs associated with the machinery, so that they can better plan to implement the process. Big Data helps extracting insights from incidents which hinder the process, and is instrumental in devising precautionary measures against similar incidents in the future. As we draw closer towards the end of the day, the terminal aim remains to save costs whilst reducing thousands of man-hours.
How is India faring in the race for Industry 4.0?
The growth and promotion of newer technologies such as Big Data, analytics, and IoT within the country has convinced entrepreneurs to onboard the process of establishing the Industry 4.0 practice. When we talk about the manufacturing arena in the most recent times, the focus has shifted from conventional modes to give way for composite materials, additive manufacturing, quantum engineering, robotics, and other advanced manufacturing practices. It only goes on to show how crucial it is to bring in lean manufacturing processes and imbibe the Industry 4.0 culture within the country to stay at par with the global market competition. Moreover, recent initiatives in the manufacturing arena such as ‘Make in India’ campaign suggests that the time is ripe to bring in ‘smart factory’ practices.
However, few challenges deter the growth of this practice. The lack of a concrete digital vision at the executive level and the absence of a robust digital culture are some of the primary impediments observed within the arena. Cyber security breach is another concern industry leaders need to address. The policy makers must concentrate on motivating universities to work more closely with industries to assist the onboarding process. They should direct their efforts towards skill development in the manufacturing arena. Colleges and universities in the country can assume the role of evangelizing people about these new innovative practices, in order to promote Industry 4.0 and the connected technologies. India reflects the capability of being at the forefront of executing Industry 4.0, provided the technology is implemented cautiously and all the impediments are taken care of.