Smart factories in the present times
In the present times, while looking at how factories are slowly becoming smarter, I find a couple of aspects transforming much faster than the others. For example, factories have started using industrial IoT to monitor and optimise their energy consumption. They have also begun monitoring their machines to incorporate better efficiencies towards higher utilisation, production, and preventive maintenance. All this digitalisation is being supported by the openness of more and more corporates to adopt cloud technologies wherever possible.
Factories have started exploring using Robotics to automate repetitive tasks with the aim of higher production and lesser defects. The use of cobots is also becoming more prevalent. Although I am still to see more use of augmented and virtual reality in real-life industrial scenarios except for safety and training purposes in a few cases. Cybersecurity is becoming one of the key focus areas for the manufacturing sector.
Similarly, though I seldom see cases of additive manufacturing, leadership teams are becoming more curious about what AI and machine learning can do to improve their business and operations.
Industry 5.0 in the context of human and machine collaboration for future manufacturing
Industry 5.0 will build on a sound foundation laid by Industry 4.0 technologies. Although Industry 4.0 has focussed on using data for higher business efficiencies and new business models, Industry 5.0 focuses on the manufacturing industry beyond profit and efficiencies.
Industry 5.0 looks to create a more sustainable business which contributes towards humans beyond jobs and roles. It prioritises worker well- being while respecting our planet towards its production limits. Connectivity between smart automation, devices and systems is central to Industry 4.0, but Industry 5.0 has a more profound synergy between humans, machines and our environment. It also focuses on waste reduction.
Although Industry 4.0 has paved the way for the use of automation like robotics with higher speed, consistency and precision, Industry 5.0 focuses on more collaboration between robots and humans, harnessing their creativity and the benefits of robotics.