Industry 4.0 Transforming Manufacturing During the Times of Covid

14 Aug 2020 09:00 AM By Dan Telep

COVID-19, a pandemic with a catastrophic death toll and still counting, has shaken up businesses across multiple industries. Manufacturing is no exception and is among the top tier of significantly impacted industrial sectors. Key industry players are exploring possibilities to keep operations running while compensating for this abrupt lack of onsite workforce. 

Canada has recorded a historic 15.7% decline in employment due to COVID-19 topping the previous 13.1% decline in December 1982, losing nearly 2 million jobs. This is a disaster that touches us all and the need for the hour is employers who respond with empathy and care, working alongside investors and other companies to build a better workforce future – Industry 4.0. 

The 4th Industrial Revolution

Appropriately enough, it is in the wake of such a global crisis that we see the fourth industrial revolution gaining traction. This significant transformation is impacting the way we produce goods due to the digitization of engineering – manufacturing 4.0. Enhancements in technology will now power smart manufacturing and autonomous systems fueled by data and machine learning.

Manufacturing 4.0 is the result of the interconnectedness of systems facilitated by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT),the adoption of which could generate trillions of dollars. The previous industrial revolution brought various computing integrations into production assembly lines and associated administrative processes; the revolution we are witnessing now comes with the addition of Intelligent Automation (IA). This means smarter computers making intelligent decisions with limited human intervention. Operations will flow faster with greater connectivity, shared data and better analytics, plus optimized collaboration throughout supply chain activities for manufacturing 4.0. 

Defining traits of Industry 4.0

         1.  Accelerated technological transformation: The rate at which industries are now adopting technology are increasing while products become obsolete quicker.

         2.  Interconnectivity: In order to sustain the adoption of this digitization companies are required to stay interconnected through devices and technology.

         3.  Mounting complication: Synchronizing technology powered by automation becomes more complex when scaled.

Challenges of Legacy Field Operations

With competitors speeding up the integration of smart manufacturing the industry 4.0 market is currently valued at $17.7 billion and is expected to reach $156.6 billion by 2024 at a CAGR of 16.9%. Achieving differentiation in during the times of COVID-19 requires overcoming several barriers to change:

1.  Manual data consolidation: Most schedules in manufacturing are paper-based and increase the chances of error.

2.  Limited Visibility: Quality control and inspections have no visibility meaning field technicians have no knowledge on their status.

3.  Downtime: Workflows and assembly lines are not streamlined for optimum performance leading to inefficiencies.

4.  Safety Incident Resolution Issues: With a lack of visibility comes the inability to specifically diagnose safety incidents.

5.  Training: Documents for training are archaic and antiquated tools such as these make it even more difficult.

6.  Insufficient Compliance: Manual processes are outdated and rarely meet regulatory safety norms.

In an economy whose aim is to recover from debilitating damage such issues that present themselves as a threat during ordinarily functioning operations can only become severely compounded for a manufacturing industry on post covid terms.

Digitizing Manufacturing During COVID-19

Manufacturing 4.0 is leveraged by nine keys technologies that your business can implement in order to stay on par with competitors - rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities such as:

        1.  Autonomous robots

        2.  Simulations

        3.  Dual-axis system integration

        4.  IIoT

        5.  Cybersecurity

        6.  Cloud computing

        7.  Additive manufacturing

        8.  Augmented reality

        9.  Big data analytics

Leveraging technologies like these can arm you against unpredictable limitations to your manufacturing operations from COVID-19 related restrictions. Differentiate your industry through implementation Industry 4.0 technology during testing times.

Some of the benefits include:

        1.  Data digitization: This eliminates manual paper work with digital dashboards relaying manufacturing analysis reports in real-time.

        2.  End-to-end visibility: Comprehensive visibility which means you have insights and traceability at every stage.

        3.  Agility & flexibility: Full comprehensive knowledge can be obtained on factors driving quality.

        4.  Premium user-experience: Set upgraded standards using technological advancements to drive enhanced business results.

Essential Software Solutions Inc. can help you reap these benefits despite a global pandemic with our ERP system software, consulting services, cloud facilities and industry 4.0 capabilities. You can make sure your industry sustains manufacturing operations without impediments to incoming or outgoing shipments, keep track of employee statuses and work within government-imposed regulations. Essential Software Solutions Inc. has been assisting manufacturers across Canada implement manufacturing 4.0 capabilities throughout this 4th revolutionary industrial wave. Reach out to our team at ESS to find out more.

#ESSoftware #COVID19 #Industry4.0 #Manufacturing4.0 

Dan Telep