Industry 4.0: The New Industrial Revolution

Author: ZackW
Date: January 6,2022

Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is transforming the production and delivery of goods and services across a wide range of vertical markets from manufacturing and industrial to warehousing and retail to education and healthcare. According to Deloitte, “[it] marries advanced manufacturing techniques with the Internet of Things to create manufacturing systems that are not only interconnected, but communicate, analyze, and use information to drive further intelligent action back in the physical world.”

Industry 4.0 applies artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to production, connecting devices, gaining insights through data collection and automating processes. It revolutionizes industry by creating cyber-physical systems that monitor and control the machines of production and systems of distribution using intelligent devices, sensors, highly distributed computer algorithms and reliable, high-speed communication systems.

Benefits of Industry 4.0 include:

Industry 4.0 is application to a wide range of use cases spanning a number of industrial and commercial segments. A few examples are shown in the table below.

 

Industrial SegmentIndustry 4.0 Use Cases
Manufacturing· Closed-loop monitoring and control of production systems
· Advanced predictive maintenance
· Autonomous mobile robots and collaborative robots
· Video-based quality inspection
· Smart wireless tools and machinery
· Real-time asset tracking and inventory management
Warehousing and logistics· Remotely operated and autonomous robots, vehicles and scanners
· Real-time asset tracking and inventory management
· Advanced predictive maintenance
Healthcare· Asset and inventory tracking
· Automated collection of patient biometric health data
· Augmented reality/virtual reality assisted surgery, remote surgery

Private 5G: The Ideal Communications Technology for Industry 4.0

Key communication and computing enablers for Industry 4.0 are the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), private 5G (i.e., a 5G network operated by an enterprise using free or lightly licensed spectrum), edge cloud, and the public cloud. See Figure 1, below.

Private 5G is rapidly emerging as the ideal communications technology to connect certain classes of IIoT devices used to produce products and deliver services to the edge cloud and, ultimately, the public cloud where massive amounts of data are stored and analyzed, intelligent algorithms learn and adapt and decisions that control the plethora of IIoT endpoints in the production environment are made. Using private 5G as the communications foundation for Industry 4.0 will provide or enable:

In short, private 5G will deliver the full set of technical capabilities required to implement the entire range of Industry 4.0 applications and use cases.

WP Fig 1 Industry 4.0 Architecture

The new class of Industry 4.0 applications can be operated over new mission critical private 5G networks. Because the spectrum used by 5G, e.g., Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), is different from that used by Wi-Fi, e.g., the industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) band, the networks will not interfere with each other. Private 5G does not require rip-and-replace or a forklift upgrade. It can be used to deploy new mission critical applications alongside the current Wi-Fi networks employed by existing applications.

Incremental Implementation, Stackable Applications

The vision of Industry 4.0 is universally appealing but the journey may seem daunting. Implementing Industry 4.0 involves rolling out new applications, new computing models, new/retrofitted manufacturing equipment, new communication technology and new business processes.

Fortunately, the road for an enterprise to get to full Industry 4.0 can be travelled incrementally. There’s no requirement to implement everything immediately. Industry 4.0 can be rolled out at the pace that’s right for each business, with solid ROI at each step along the way.

What’s important is for enterprises to lay a communications technology foundation that can support both initial use cases along with an ability to support experimentation and the ultimate deployment of more advanced use cases delivering the Industry 4.0 vision. To this end, enterprises should think of private 5G use cases as stackable. The private 5G network can be initially installed to support a single use case. Even though the bulk of the infrastructure investment and expense is committed at this point, the initial application can generate an attractive return on investment (ROI). Additional use cases can then be rolled out gradually and for minimal incremental expense, leading to even greater ROI. Use case stackability creates better ease of implementation and enables faster rollout of, and financial return from, additional Industry 4.0 use cases.

This concept is illustrated in Figure 2, below. The private 5G network can initially support secure connectivity, enabling asset monitoring and location tracking, video- and sensor-based inspection, and mobile device connectivity. Edge computing supporting mission critical applications can be stacked on the secure connectivity infrastructure, facilitating capabilities such as collaborative robots, environmental monitoring and predictive maintenance. When ready, the enterprise can add advanced Industry 4.0 capabilities such as automated guided vehicles, augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR)/mixed reality (MR) for training and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO), and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) site inspections.

WP Fig 2 - Ex Enterprise Growth into industry 3.0

Summary

Industry 4.0 is transforming the production and delivery of goods and services around the world. Private 5G is rapidly emerging as the ideal communications technology for implementing Industry 4.0 applications and use cases in a wide variety of industries. It is recommended enterprises roll out Industry 4.0 incrementally, first building a private 5G networking foundation and then stacking applications on it over time.

This post, the first in a series, is an expanded excerpt from the Ananki white paper “Enabling Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0 with Private 5G”. Register to view the complete white paper. 

Further Reading

Industry 4.0” Deloitte

Industry 4.0 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution Explained” i-SCOOP

Private 5G Network-Led Transformation” Capgemini Engineering

 

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