What is industry 4.0? Industry 4.0 refers to the 4th major industrial revolution. We have evolved first utilizing steam then electricity, and from there companies started employing computers to calculate and build in ways we had previously not known were possible. Now, interconnectivity looms on the horizon as the next catalyst for innovation in manufacturing.
Industry 4.0 is being talked about more and more as both the future of manufacturing, and a potential solution to some unique problems being faced in the field today. Perhaps none more so than medical device manufacturers, who need to consider quality standards, regulatory guidelines, on top of more common obstacles such as supply chain durability and output balances. Companies like precision machine shops, for example, have been investing in new technologies, equipment and processes in order to stay relevant and keep up with the changing times.
The core principle of industry 4.0 is combining automation and IT in order to improve productivity across the board. For a lot of people, the term “automation” will suggest a facility packed with robotic machinery, but the term can apply to software and information gathering as well. The addition and implementation of this concept can help a business to capitalize on industry 4.0 if they keep their eyes on functionality and in practical and achievable advancement goals.
As we make machines capable of performing microscopic surgeries via robotics from thousands of miles away, or build spaceships that safely transport people to Mars, the engineers and manufacturers who are behind the creation of these technologies will inevitably be pushed to develop more advanced and streamlined means of production in order to keep up with the demands of these sectors. Newly emergent tools and equipment like 3d printers or automated analytics that measure and even predict maintenance issues along with a whole host of others will soon go from commodities to being integral parts of a manufacturer’s daily functions.
Any business that failed to evolve with the last industrial revolution failed altogether (do you know anyone in business without a computer?), and so it may eventually be with this one as well. There is much to be gained however, and as new and better technologies keep manufacturers on their toes, they will also lead to exciting opportunities for innovations that will potentially enrich the lives of many.
Written by Meghan McMahon, Business Development Manager at NaviTek Machining Corporation. NaviTek Machining Corporation is a precision machining manufacturer with ISO 13485;2016 and AS9100:2016 certifications.