Saturday, 6 January 2018

Industry 4.0-Current Industrial transformation with automation: Reality or Myth

Article by: Ms. Priyanka Roy, Student Batch-2017-19, Calcutta Business School

In the world of digitization, every sector of the industry has undergone significant transformation in every facet of their operations. With the development in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), over last two decades, industries have been confronted with disruptive changes in technology and their impact on business operations. We are experiencing Industry 4.0 now, which broadly entails human-machine interaction in managing business operations. Experts say, “We are at the tipping point of the fourth industrial revolution”. Some of key aspects of industry 4.0 include Augmented Reality, 3D printing, and collaborative robots etc. In addition, organizations are flooded with humongous amount of data generated at every node of their supply chain in the form of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured format. Question is how one can cope up with this pace of technology change and leverage it for business growth. Here comes the debate: Is Industry 4.0 a reality that can be implemented and generate business results or it is merely a myth? Before getting into the central discussion, let us first discuss briefly about Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 also known as the fourth Industrial Revolution is the current trend in manufacturing industries. In short it means incorporating the smart technologies in manufacturing industries, improving the process, optimizing the productivity in order to venture a new business model. With the introduction of IoT, cloud computing and other advanced technologies in manufacturing and production industry there would be a huge transformation where systems would communicate with each other in an intelligent way. It’s a process where humans will stop working and all communication will work between computers.

Industry 4.0 is going to have a significant impact on the ease of doing business in India. The impact will be seen in higher demand of skilled labor, reducing the centralizing process as well as the change over time, more direct customer relationship, reduction in the breakdown time due to conditional maintenance. The day to day activities of the workforce will be replaced by automated robotics.

A lot of research has already been done in this field and manufacturing industries have already started to implement it .The automobile industry is specially seen at implementing the Industry 4.0.Companies like BMW, Bosch etc. implemented Industry 4.0 to focus on their production .Similarly companies like Daimler, IBM, Universal Robots implemented Industry 4.0 in order to focus on production planning, logistics, improving customer value through engineering etc. The best example of the implementation of the Industry 4.0 could be seen in Siemens Electronic Works facility in Amberg, Germany. The whole operation is maintained by smart machines which coordinate everything from the manufacturing line to the global distribution of company’s product.

Industry 4.0 is creating enormous opportunities not only in the global level but national level as well like Make in India, Digital India and Skill India. The objective of Make in India is to make India a manufacturing hub in the world and in this process Industry 4.0 is going to help India in ensuring its spot in the Digital World. Skill India aims at upgrading the skills of the workforce so that they meet the requirement for the industries and would be able to work with the upgraded technologies. A considerable portion of Indian manufacturing industries operates with their plants with limited automation as they are not willing to invest on new technologies and focus less on product innovation. This is a major challenge for Indian Industries. India should work faster in adopting Industry 4.0 in order to become one of the Industry 4.0 leaders of the world. Indian companies have already started adapting business strategies to implement Industry 4.0 like Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Bajaj, Renault etc. They are using robots in their assembly lines, production line for welding and painting etc.

The application of those new technologies will involve a number of challenges. The challenges include lack of knowledge, capabilities, funding etc. The objective of the first step is to understand the technologies and to implement them. For a successful implementation of Industry 4.0 Data Security and system integrity are the prerequisites. In order to integrate the entire supply chain from supplier’s end to customer further to customized production the advanced factory uses automation. In order to maintain integrity within the whole network each machines and personnel need to be verified and communications must be highly protected to protect from unauthorized access, attack, fraud etc. After the implementation of new technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) in the manufacturing field the integration of real and virtual worlds will reach the next level. Industry 4.0 enables machines, devices and people to connect anywhere, anytime and at any place.


Ø Nardello, M., Madsen, O., and Møller, C. The Smart Production Laboratory: A Learning Factory for Industry 4.0 Concepts.

Ø Industry 4.0 and India's Automotive Industry. 2nd Automotive Forum & Awards – Theme Paper

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