What is Industry 4.0?

Written by Seb Keightley

Mar 5, 2024

March 5, 2024

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, represents the convergence of physical and digital technologies. It encompasses breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and more. Unlike previous industrial revolutions, Industry 4.0 extends beyond manufacturing to impact civil society, governance structures, and human identity.
The First Industrial Revolution was the original industrial revolution, where we shifted from manual tasks to steam and water power sources for machinery.
The Second Industrial Revolution was the technological revolution, integrating rail, telephone and electrical systems to aid communication, transportation and manufacture.
The Third Industrial Revolution was the digital revolution, integrating computing and digital systems, and launching us into the information age.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution as mentioned above, includes AI, robotics and autonomous systems, and will blur the lines between the digital and non digital worlds. This also includes genetic editing and augmentation but I will focus on industrial applications and robotics in this article.

The role of Cobots in Industry 4.0

With the inevitibility of industry 4.0 human safety will be paramount as we explore and engage the potentials of a future world. To this end, workspaces will need to embrace the efficiencies of automation but ensure safety for human operations, and this is where Cobots come into their own.

collaborative robots (Cobots) are designed to interact and collaborate safely with humans in shared workspaces. 

Unlike their traditional industrial counterparts, cobots are lightweight, compact, and easy to operate. 

They won’t pose a danger to human workers, making them ideal for tasks that require close collaboration. 

Pictured right, the CR series – more information.

MG400 inserting PCB component

Key benefits of Cobots

Enhanced Productivity and Efficiency

– Cobots enhance productivity by automating repetitive or physically demanding tasks.
– They work alongside humans, complementing their abilities and reducing fatigue.
– Quick deployment and ease of programming contribute to increased efficiency. 

Cost Effective

– Cobots offer reduced capital costs compared to traditional robots.
– Their high return on investment (ROI) attracts small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
– Affordable pricing makes them accessible for various industries. 

Safety and Flexibility

– Force-limiting sensors remove the necessity for protective barriers in some circumstances.
– Cobots can adapt to changing tasks and environments.
– They promote safety by handling hazardous or monotonous jobs. 

Cobots embody Industry 4.0 principles:

– Easy to connect to other systems, including the Internet of Things (IoT).

– Cobots capture data and facilitate analysis, enabling higher monitoring and deep learning.

– Cobots can decentralize decision making with the ability to make autonomous choices based on real-time information.

Conclusion

Industry 4.0 IS coming, and the speed at which technology advances is practically exponential. Embracing these advances in technology enables us to empower our workspaces, and cobots are a great first route into that with plenty of applications that are both affordable, and accessible in terms of learning.

Embracing cobots aligns with the Industry 4.0 vision of efficient, interconnected, and adaptive manufacturing. These collaborative robots empower workers, enhance productivity, and drive innovation in the smart factories of the future.

Check out our article exploring the versatility of cobots for more information on some of these applications.

If you have any questions about cobots, industry 4.0, or whether you can optimise your own workspace you can get in touch with us via email, telephone or via our contact form

Next week we will be looking at the MG400, the most affordable robot on the market, and one that can sit on your desk whilst you learn how to use it.

 

For further information or to reach out to Simplified Robotics you can contact Seb directly on LinkedIn or get in touch with us via our contact form on the website.

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