Undoubtedly, the hottest topic currently in the manufacturing sector is "Industry 4.0," and most firms hope to utilize ICT, software and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to build up their smart and automation synergy. However, everything has a beginning. To enter Industry 4.0, firms need to have a strong automation foundation, and through data collection and analytics, smart decisions can be made.
Industry 3.0 saw the industry utilize computer technology to turn hardware control circuit into software, and make it more digitalized. Industry 3.0 gave birth to PLC supporting complicated logic. This was a huge improvement compared to Industry 2.0. And now, as we move towards Industry 4.0, the goal is to use the bases we have now and integrate elements such as cloud computing, big data, and IoT technologies. Smart processes can help the industry shorten the time needed to complete the otherwise tedious and time-consuming operations such as manufacturing process management, procurement, and production scheduling. And such a prospect alone is already enough to whip up much interest in Industry 4.0 among firms.
Wen-Jinn Liang, vice president of Toes Opto-Mechatronics, a subsidiary of Tatung Company, notes that the advantage of Industry 4.0 is not limited to just reducing labor cost, as it also brings more added values. For example, Germany has been eager to promote the cyber physical system (CPS) integration concept which allows firms to use 3D virtual software, motion simulation robots, modules, and other equipment to detect design flaws and interferences. This allows them to preemptively repair weaknesses and increase design efficiency. This is a huge step to shortening the time-to-market process.