Industry 4.0 is the leading trend of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” taking place before our eyes.
We live in an era of the completion of the third, digital revolution that began in the second half of the last century. Its characteristic features are the development of information and communication technologies, automation, and robotization of production processes.
The characteristics of Industry 4.0 are fully automated productions, in which all processes are managed in real-time and taking into account changing external conditions. Cyber-physical systems create virtual copies of objects of the physical world, control physical processes, and make decentralized decisions. They are able to unite into networks, interact in real-time, self-adjust, and learn. An important role of Internet technologies is communication between personnel and machines. Enterprises create products in accordance with the requirements of the individual customer, optimizing the cost of production.
Experts identify four basic technologies, which mplementation provide revolutionary changes.
Internet of Things (Internet of Things, IoT). In this technology, the Internet is used to exchange information not only between people but also between all sorts of “things”, i.e. machines, devices, sensors, etc. On the one hand, things equipped with sensors can exchange data and process them without human intervention. A person can actively participate in this process, for example, when it comes to “smart home”.
One of the IoT types is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). It opens the way to the creation of fully automated industries. Key equipment components are supplied with various sensors, actuators, and controllers. The collected data are processed and sent to the appropriate services of the enterprise, which allows staff to quickly make informed and balanced decisions. But the maximum task is to achieve a level of enterprise automation, where machines operate without the participation of people. The role of personnel is reduced to controlling the operation of machines and responding only to emergency situations.
Digital ecosystems. These are systems consisting of various physical objects, software systems, and controllers, allowing to represent such an education as a whole. Physical and computing resources in such an ecosystem are closely related, monitoring and management of physical processes are carried out using IIoT technologies. Traditional engineering models harmoniously coexist with computers.
Big Data Analytics (Data Driven Decision) or Big Data simply. The huge amounts of information accumulated as a result of the "digitization" of the physical world can be efficiently processed only by computers (possibly quantum ones in the future) using cloud computing and Artificial Intelligence technologies. As a result, the person controlling this or that process, situation, the situation should receive the processed data, which are most convenient for perception, analysis, and decision making.
Sophisticated information systems are open to customers and partners (digital platforms). These can be digital platforms and systems for managing business processes, integrating the Internet of things into physical business processes, analyzing and predicting the state of equipment, etc.
The fourth industrial revolution, in addition to the above areas of accelerated development, may also imply the widespread introduction of 3D printing, printed electronics, the use of distributed registries (i.e., the blockchain technology that gained fame after creating cryptocurrencies on its basis), and even development of autonomous robots that will not be components of automated lines, as now, but quite intelligent mobile devices capable of operation close to people.
According to the forecasts of the WEF (World Economic Forum), most technologies of the Fourth Revolution will become regular in 2027. This means that there will be not only smart homes, but also smart cities, unmanned vehicles on the streets, artificial intelligence in offices, and supercomputers in their pockets.
History of the term
For the first time, Industry 4.0 was discussed in 2011 at the industrial exhibition in Hannover, where the German government set the task of expanding the use of information technologies in production. A highly professional team, which included representatives of business and the state, worked on the creation of a program for the modernization of industrial enterprises in the country. The goal of the program is to preserve and increase the competitive advantages of the country's enterprises.
A revolution is completed successfully only if it is: a) well organized and b) well-funded. Those who can gain the greatest dividends should take care of this. The main advantages from the transition to a new technological order will gain those enterprises, corporations, and states that first implement not separate components listed above, but, to a significant extent, all of them.
Only for the first stage of this program (preparation of the base for launching the process) did the German government allocate 200 million euros, another 300 million allocated by the German business. It was assumed, however, that in the future the business will work independently on this program, and until 2020, 30-40 billion euros will be invested in technologies related to Industry 4.0 each year. In general, European investment can reach 140 billion a year.
The interest in the Industry 4.0 program of both the government and German business is easily explained. For example, according to estimates by the consulting company Roland Berger, the EU economy may not receive 605 billion dollars in the coming years if it ignores the demand put forward by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. But if they are fulfilled, the potential profit can reach 1.25 trillion dollars.
No wonder that other countries are following the example of Germany.
Japan established the Japan Institute for the Promotion of the Digital Economy and the Community (JIPDEC).
The largest US companies — AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM, and Intel — in 2014 created the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) Consortium, an open non-profit group that, as of the beginning of 2017, had already united 250 companies from 30 countries. The main task of the Consortium is to create an ecosystem of companies, research centers, and government agencies that are favorable for the implementation of the industrial Internet. The cooperation agreement with the Consortium was also approved by the National Association of Industrial Internet Market Participants (NAPI), established in Russia in July 2016.
According to the forecast of McKinsey, by 2025, the cumulative economic effect from the introduction of only the industrial Internet will reach 11 trillion dollars. So, those companies that are already actively participating in the Fourth Industrial Revolution today will receive tangible competitive advantages tomorrow.
Industry 4.0 in Ukraine
And what about in Ukraine? It is clear that business can hardly be counted on for the assistance of the state. Nevertheless, something in the direction of the transition to Industry 4.0 is still being done. The movement “Industry 4.0 in Ukraine” was created, great attention is paid to APPAU (Association of Industrial Automation Enterprises of Ukraine). At the ndustrial exhibition in Hannover, IT-Enterprise representatives noted that the Production module and other modules of the IT-Enterprise ERP system are already solving the problems of Industry 4.0, and they do it more effectively than similar competitor systems. At the Hong Kong forum 2016, representatives of 200 companies involved in the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies were surprised to learn that some of the problems they are just starting to solve have been solved by IT-enterprise specialists and achieved results reported.