"We are shifting from scale to the goal": the fourth industrial revolution is defined by this sentence and represents a radical change for companies. The attention is no longer directed towards the mass of consumers, but rather to the individual buyer, who determines the dynamics of production with his choices.
Industry 4.0 is based on the technologies behind digital manufacturing, which must be adopted by companies in order to obtain all the advantages of this phenomenon. Let's remember, for example, digital technologies, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Cloud Computing and Robotics.
Industry 4.0 and, in particular, the Internet of Things entail important consequences and new needs in terms of resources, skills and work. On the one hand, companies increase productivity, use resources more efficiently, reduce environmental impact and lay the foundations for a better quality of life.
On the other hand, the labor market and the skills require a considerable change: the higher level of complexity leads to the loss of work for the less qualified.
In addition, the demand for broadband storage space and data security tools is increasing.
The term refers to the fourth industrial revolution, which changes company production through the use of wireless connections and IoT sensors. Industry 4.0 envisages the massive use of data and information in digitized and connected systems, with a view of Internet of Things.
Industry 4.0 is based on some advanced technologies, among which the most used today are:
All the afore-mentioned technologies (IoT, Cloud, Big Data Analytics) collaborate in the creation of the so-called digital or virtual twin of the physical process that plays a key role in the Industry 4.0.
An advanced mathematical model allows to describe the product, the service or the process to carry out analyzes and apply strategies.
Today, the simulation with virtual twins has a key role in Industry 4.0 and allows to optimize production obtaining useful information to ensure greater efficiency (up to 20% more production) and reduce the time-to-market (up to 50%) .
In Industry 4.0 the common denominator of the whole process is the data, capable of connecting all the company's resources. We are witnessing today the renewal of traditional IT with the introduction of an advanced Big Data Analysis that redefines and remodels the data management infrastructures, allowing a simpler and faster analysis and access to all users.
This technology combines today's essential technologies such as Industrial IoT or IIoT and CPS systems with Manufacturing Data Management solutions that use the cloud to create Manufacturing-as-a-Service (MaaS) production. In this way, companies transform production into a service rather than a process and in the future we will have virtual establishments close to the target consumer.
Talking about IoT also means talking about artificial intelligence applied to the world of connected objects and concepts such as Cognitive and Machine Learning. For example, in the manufacturing industry 4.0 it will be possible to create a digital twin of physical products, to be used for the prototyping and testing phases. An important advantage in terms of time and resources, but the possibilities of use are truly endless.
The real protagonist of Industry 4.0 is cloud computing, which allows companies to abandon manual processes of virtual machine provisioning, saving time and money. Among the advantages that a cloud system can bring to the company we point out the flexibility, the absence of costs for hardware, collaboration, security and data protection and sustainability.
Among the systems available today to all Italian SMEs, we mention Red Cloud, created to guide the digital transformation of your company by offering advanced system skills, a modern data center and open-source software.
We have seen how the technologies on which the new Industry 4.0 is based generate a huge amount of data, the so-called Big Data, which must be stored and managed appropriately to ensure the success of the company.
Today, we prefer to use the time series DB, i.e. special databases optimized for time series: these are measurements and events tracked, sub-sampled and aggregated over time and include sensor data, performance monitoring, server metrics and more.
An important evolution that must involve the infrastructure of each company.
Companies that access the new Industry 4.0 technologies and adopt a time series DB can gain significant benefits. Among these:
With the amount of data generated by IoT systems and the need for real-time analysis and management, relying on a time series DB in place of a relational database is the best solution.
Today the Internet of Things has created thousands of connections among thousands of sensors and this complexity generates a large amount of data in real time. Knowing how to manage them correctly allows companies to perform predictive maintenance on machinery, but also have updated information to make strategic decisions or carry out certain activities.
IoT Gateways are one of the critical components of the Internet of Things and are hardware devices or virtual software codes that connect an IoT Sensor Network and a Cloud server. Their importance is given by the fact that they facilitate compatibility with the IoT network, supporting various protocols such as Bluetooth, Wifi, Zwave and Zigbee. IoT sensors are IP-based and the IoT Gateway ensures connectivity with cloud servers, making the various devices available online.
Manufacturing companies and manufacturers use the IIoT, or the Industrial Internet of Things, to improve factory efficiency, prevent machinery breakdowns and downtime. In fact, these sensors allow to make a predictive analysis of the machines and allow to reduce costs, improve uptime, speed up operations and create products of superior quality.
The result for companies is a greater speed of production lines, thanks to the IoT and IIoT technologies.
Today, IoT sensors available on the market allow complete integration with data and processes already existing in the company such as ERP systems, which contain information on inventory and customer demand, MES systems or production execution, but also PLM for the creation of smart labels and with product quality systems.
The integration of these worlds allows companies to increase operational efficiency by becoming more flexible and responsive and offering customized solutions to customers.
The previous tools work only thanks to ERP, MES, PLM and the other tools work only thanks to the application integration with an Enterprise Bus Service (ESB), ie a software infrastructure able to transfer data between the various company systems and manage them. . The result is a better and complete automation of business processes to obtain real-time information on processes, as well as coordination, messaging and other services. The ESB can be imagined as a backbone on which application components and corporate software services travel.
Big Data and Data Analytics represent the main resource for all the companies that have decided to invest in Industry 4.0. Knowing how to analyze and manage the data generated by IoT platforms will mean for every company that operates in the manufacturing sector millions of euros in savings, and above all, improved efficiency, effectiveness, productivity and quality of the products offered. Making use of Data Analytics means knowing how to use innovative tools such as ML or IA to analyze the data and the figure of the Data Scientist will be increasingly important.
Data Visualization helps to see information as a whole, but above all make it clear and usable by everyone in the company in a visual form, that can be a chart, a list, a map or an infographic.
Making data visualization means knowing how to analyze data and allows you to experiment with different industrial scenarios: this is why there is a growing diffusion of data visualization tools, available in various forms on the basis of company needs to be satisfied.
The Industry 4.0 model is of fundamental importance for a company that wants to be competitive in the market, but to talk about Machine Learning in the SME still today faces four main challenges:
The Industry 4.0 project was enriched by the Manovra 2019, with incentives for cloud computing and the confirmation of hyper-depreciation. In short, the 140% increase in the deductibility of fees for services and software used in the cloud is established, while hyper-depreciation introduces different rates based on the investment ceiling. The 140% incentive for intangible assets is also confirmed. Finally, the voucher for the Innovation Manager was introduced to support the digital transformation processes according to the provisions of the Piano Nazionale Impresa 4.0.
The Italian Balance Sheet Regulation (DDL) 2019 introduced the extension for investments in new capital and intangible assets, capable of supporting the technological innovation of Italian companies on the basis of the Industry 4.0 model. In detail, hyper-depreciation extends to 31 December 2020, while the 130% super amortization will end on 30 June 2019.
The objective is to boost the innovation of Italian companies and investments in plant and machinery, to get the new model off the ground of Industry 4.0.
Unfortunately, servers are not Enabling Technologies of Industry 4.0, unless its replacement is part of a larger project of digitization and business innovation. To date, only systems that help identification, traceability and monitoring, as stated in the information documents, are subject to hyper-depreciation.