Industry 4.0 - Are you ready for the 4. industrial revolution?

Do we really need to think about changing our work processes or even mass reorganizational changes in company? Or is it just a "trendy" word with nothing but technological marketing behind it and we are good to ignore it?
This is an archive article published 10/18/2017. Some information may no longer be up to date and in line with the current state. Please contact us in case of interest.

Which steps need to be taken and what we can advise from our own experience?

If you want to get ready for Industry 4.0 and you are ok with the idea of presence of intelligent machines, the first step is to create good "working environment" for them.
First of all, the machines have to have SOMETHING to share. They need to have data, so digitalize your company. Don’t keep the information in people’s heads or on papers. Transform them into magical 0 and 1. And of course, keep it in structured form in some database. And also, think about the fact that these machines will produce a lot of data and records during their work so you need to let them store those data somewhere.

Our experience: Almost certainly you won’t have just one data storage or one database. After all, you have the information in economic software, CRM, from web, etc. It depends on type of data and what I am going to use it for (so-called relational and non-relational databases). Don’t worry about it, it doesn’t matter how many databases you have. Interface is important.
And here we come to the next step...

How will the machines communicate with each other? How will they exchange data? Create (literally program) the communication interface.
Here in SOS electronic, we have created our own API (Application Programming Interface) that knows how to communicate with various databases and additional machines/applications (no matter how you call them) are then only referring to API (via GET or PUT).
So simply put, there’s API in the middle, it doesn’t have data but it can find them out from the individual databases or via other connected devices. So the machines communicate with each other via the API.

After creating a working environment we need to divide roles. What will be performed by humans and what will be done by machines. Be creative and do not be afraid to give the machines all the work that they can do better than people. Of course, let some machine check how efficient other machines and people work and respond to that with new ideas and measures. It is a cyclical process.

And what is it good for?

The aim of Industry 4.0 is personalization and adaptation to individual needs of customers. You can already order running shoes that you design yourself using wizard over the Internet. And they will be produced without the need for laborious readjustment of the production line.

Or another example ...
You can send a newsletter to all customers with the same content, or ... you can let one machine analyze customer behaviour and needs and based on that let different machine prepare email content specifically for a particular customer so they read only what interests them. A third machine then measures what and if customer read anything from this newsletter and subsequently modifies the data in a way that the next newsletter is even more relevant.
Could this be done by human for x-thousands of customers?

In this article, we tried to show you in a simplified way how to get ready for Industry 4.0 mainly in small and medium-sized companies.
Thus, if you will:
- digitalize your company,
- work with data,
- constantly think about how to divide work among people and machines correctly and effectively,
- constantly measure and analyze if it really is effective,
may I say that you are not only ready but you are already part of the Industry 4.0.

And if you (as an electro-technical company) see this as an inspiration for your new products, point for you! We’ll be happy to help you with our range of electronic components and our additional services

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