Humans can only do so much before they reach a breaking point where sleep, recovery from an injury or illness, or a break for their mental health is necessary. If you learned anything from the pandemic, it was likely that a contagious disease could greatly impact your company’s production rates. All it took was one worker to pass the virus to the entire department to suddenly have no one to run the machines and maintain production rates. Paired with dwindling workforces as younger workers look for jobs in other industries, a loss of dedicated or even healthy employees will cause productivity to tank, leading to supply chain issues. That’s where Industry 4.0 and 5.0 become helpful. What is Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0? How do they differ and how are they alike? Our guide goes over what they are, how we got to this point, and what advancing technology means for your plant.
Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0 Defined
Industry 4.0 is a technology-driven approach to manufacturing that helps with real-time decisions, increased productivity, and heightened safety. It’s the smart machines that use programs, cameras, and other forms of technology to complete a job. People are worried about the use of AI and robotics as technologies that will put them out of work. Industry 5.0 shows that’s not the case. While Industry 5.0 also is an approach to manufacturing, it’s a more human aspect and covers the relationship between the employees and robots and technology. For smart machines to work properly, there has to be an inclusive relationship with humans. Humans are of value and are needed for smart machines to work together effectively and efficiently.
Compare the Histories of Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0
Industry 4.0 originated in 2011 and was meant to promote the use of computers in Germany’s manufacturing sector. Until then, many plants lacked smart machines and advanced technology. Even a decade later, some plants haven’t embraced technology and prefer to do things the old way. It’s not cost-effective. Take a closer look at a plant that manufactures the cabling needed for solar panels or wind turbines. A worker had to drive a forklift to get a spool of bare wire and safely drive it to the machine’s plate to line it up with the payoff. The worker pushes the spool onto the payoff where it’s loaded with a hydraulic lift, the worker connects the new wire to the existing wire to be fed into the machine.
The same worker had to use the forklift to move pallets of plastic pellets to the dryer for the vacuum to draw the pellets into the heater to melt them for the extrusion process to take place. Wire travels through the machines, gets the coating of melted plastic, goes through a cooling water bath, and is tested by the employee to make sure it’s centered correctly. From there, forklifts again moved the finished spool of wire to bring it to the next department.
With Industry 4.0., automation and technology could do a lot of the work, freeing up the employee for other tasks, eliminating the risk of injury, and ensuring precision with the wire being centered. Industry 4.0 also could provide analytics that workers never had in the past, leading to increased production rates and fewer scrapped materials from errors. Enter Industry 5.0, which takes 4.0 to a new level. In 2018, thoughts turned to the creation of a more human approach to 4.0. Think of the new refrigerators that can scan the UPCs on items in your refrigerator and report to you when something is running out. You can build a shopping list right on the refrigerator display and have that list available from your smartphone when you’re in the store. It’s a beneficial relationship between humans and technology. That’s the basic goal of Industry 5.0, only shifting the technology to manufacturing.
Understanding the Challenges and Benefits of Both
One of the biggest benefits of this level of technology and automation is that a plant runs efficiently and saves money. While your workers need heat and lighting for their comfort and safety, AI and robotics don’t need it. In fact, computers need cooler environments. That saves money on heating and electricity. You can run your machines all night while workers go home and spend time with their families, and those machines will do the work without needing bathroom breaks, meal breaks, rest breaks, vacation days, or sick days. Industry 4.0 and 5.0 boost production rates, improve quality, and predict when maintenance or repairs are needed. It helps increase your revenues and eliminates unexpected downtime. There are also challenges and benefits with both Industry 4.0 and 5.0. One of the biggest is cybersecurity. The more connected a plant is to the Internet of Things (IoT), the higher the risk of security threats. Data breaches, ransomware, and hacks are all risks that could put your company’s security at risk, lead to disabling shutdowns, and even put your customers’ and workers’ personal information at risk.
Innovations at Mitsubishi Electrics
While Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0 continue to develop, one thing is clear. Industry 4.0 and 5.0 will revolutionize the world of manufacturing. Adopt these technologies early on and remain competitive while also improving quality, boosting efficiency, heightening sustainability, and reducing your plant’s costs. It’s a win-win situation that will put you in the lead. Innovation goes hand in hand with success in manufacturing and Mitsubishi Electric is the partner you need to get there. We’re here to offer expert advice in areas like these.
- Analytics and Machine Learning: Constant analysis of the machine’s operations is important for preventing unexpected maintenance and downtimes. Machine learning can assess and adjust for vibration and sway, make sure important measurements are on target or centered, and assess the need for maintenance or repairs before a part breaks.
- Engineering Productivity: Instead of having engineers and other employees constantly making changes to the programming, you can use routine programming options to boost efficiency and free your employees’ time for other vital tasks.
- Machine Utilization: Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is an evaluation of how your equipment is used and where efficiency and performance could be improved. It involves an analysis of time spent and output reached to determine where you could save money, improve production rates, and help your machine operators reach goals with frustration.
- Mechatronics & Robotics: AI and robotics can reduce start-up times, improve production runs, and improve quality. Plus, they improve safety in the workplace and give your employees the chance to learn something new, and spend less time with manual labor in the maintenance and physical adjustments.
- Smart Machines: Smart machines have built-in diagnostics and troubleshooting screens to lower the risk of unexpected downtimes. It can predict when maintenance is due, make it easier to ensure necessary parts are on hand and ensure that you’re not losing production to unexpected machine failures.
- Smart Manufacturing: With all of these machines and technology in place, your manufacturing plant runs smoothly, uses less energy, and improves production rates. Your clients are happier, your employees are gaining important skills in technology, and you’re ahead of your competition.
We’re happy to discuss what you’re currently doing, what you’d like to achieve, and how to make that happen in ways that are affordable and feasible. Reach us online or by phone to learn more about Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0 solutions.
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