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Industry 4.0 can be defined as the next phase in the digitalization of the manufacturing sector which is inspired by the computational power and connectivity, current rise in data volumes, new forms of human-machine interaction like touch interfaces and augmented reality systems.

Industry 4.0 depends on a number of new and innovative technological developments as stated in the Industry 4.0 briefing by the European Union such as:

  • The application of information and communication technology (ICT) to digitize information and integrate systems at all stages of product creation and use
  • Cyber-physical systems that use ICTs to monitor and control physical processes and systems which can involve embedded sensors and intelligent robotics which can configure themselves
  • Collection of huge quantities of data and their analysis and exploitation either at once on the factory floor or through big data analysis and cloud computing

Cyber-physical production system may provide several benefits like being able to work in a cloud-environment conveys completely new levels of integrity, flexibility and scalability. Sensor technology minimizes errors by having a real-time feedback loop, providing overview of production line and enabling proactive steps to be taken to fix any possible problems. Velocity of sharing data enables real-time and improved decision-making.

Some further key benefits for Industry 4.0 include:

  • Improved quality: sensor data can be used to determine errors during the manufacturing phase to proactively identify mistakes
  • Enhanced productivity: manufacturing industry can cut downtime by up to 50% with smarter facility solutions
  • Safety enhancements in dangerous working environments: Safety risks at chemical facilities are lowered by providing increased reality and simulation solutions

Moreover, it is estimated that Industry 4.0 can bring annual efficiency improvements between 6-8%.

Many manufacturers are still focusing on the daily management of operational systems instead of directing their attention towards shop floor data and information. Though, the move towards big data can only happen in case of actionable an accurate shop floor and is made available.

This allows the companies to answer questions like:

  • Where throughout all my plants has a certain device (i.e. a sensor or a centrifuge) been deployed?
  • How is this equipment performing?
  • Which equipment is deviating from expected performance (i.e. early failure, corrosion) and what might be the root cause for this unexpected behavior?

This approach enables companies to achieve a unique overview of how their manufacturing facility is performing and take action with regard to solve any problems before they result, causing inefficiency, subpar product quality or plant downtime.

It is important to identify hazards, implement controls, and manage tasks to reduce risk and ensure compliance with health and safety management software, . Our SAP solutions can help you:

  • Prevent exposure to chemicals and workplace hazards by monitoring industrial hygiene and health
  • Engage workers in health and safety efforts by providing easy access to chemical safety information and running safety inspections
  • Reduce operational risks by ensuring that plant managers have a comprehensive view of risk data

The asset network is where operators, equipment manufacturers, contractors, suppliers, and service providers are linked and can collaborate over the asset lifecycle. The network optimizes collaboration for information such as technical documents and data, real-time operating data, predictive maintenance, and procurement of spare parts and services.

Because the secure network automates asset data exchange – and helps OEMs, operators, and service providers thrive in the digital economy. Using cloud-based IoT technology, SAP Asset Intelligence Network can help you:

  • Connect to a central hub for all EAM stakeholders
  • Increase asset data quality with a world-class product data management (PDM) system
  • Simplify collaborative asset management by storing common metadata on the network
  • Improve equipment reliability and issue response times – and reduce asset maintenance costs
  • Manufacturers: Boost customer satisfaction, ensure product liability, and make improvements based on feedback
  • Operators: Benefit from complete asset information, tailored services, and fewer maintenance issues

In conclusion, as the technology continues to advance the line between the digital and the physical world will continue to blur. Industry 4.0 will enable the manufacturing industry to take a step to the next level of efficacy, productivity and safety.

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