Industry 4.0 is here and it’s revolutionizing the way manufacturers are doing business, according to the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).
Digital technology is dramatically improving productivity, growth and product quality for Canadian manufacturers, and the time to invest is now.
There’s a wide variety of Industry 4.0 applications that range in costs and complexity. The following are some of the common Industry 4.0 applications you could implement in your business:
- Go paperless—Digitize your business documents (e.g., work instructions, forms, purchase and shipping orders, product specifications) to save time and money, and to reduce errors due to incorrect and outdated information.
- Monitor and control machinery and equipment in real time—Install wireless sensors on your machinery and equipment to monitor your production and collect data in real time. This allows you to accurately track production, identify and correct problems, and make more informed strategic decisions. This is known as the Industrial Internet of Things.
- Introduce smart processes—Introduce machines that can analyze their own data to predict when maintenance is needed and even book an appointment with a technician. Advanced control technologies measure quality in real time during production and take action to correct defects.
- Optimize processes—Use advanced analytic software to mine data to identify the best production and maintenance scenarios to improve production and optimize asset utilization.
- Experiment with 3-D printing—Use 3-D printers to make prototypes quickly, fabricate complex forms and make ultra-personalized products tailored to your customers’ specifications.
- Connect products to the Internet—Equip products with sensors to monitor usage. Use them to alert your customers when maintenance is needed and other issues arise. You can also use smart products to add services based on usage, shift to a product-as-a-service business model or develop new, innovative products.
- Integrate computer networks—Use the Internet to connect with your customers, suppliers and business partners. You might use an extranet or an electronic data interchange system (EDI) for B2B connections and a transactional website for B2C connections.
- More about Industry 4.0 on the BDC website