The fourth industrial revolution is characterised by the exponential adoption of technology - where the power and speed of technology is doubling as fast as the cost is dropping by half. These technologies (such as the internet of things, sensors, robotics, 3D printing, augmented reality, virtual reality, the cloud, big data, drones, eEverything) are reaching a level of maturity at the same time, ready for wide adoption and adaption.
It is not about robots taking over and fewer jobs for people, it’s about doing things differently and leveraging the power of the technology available. Much like the industrial revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries which brought us mechanisation, mass production and automation, all which ‘revolutionised’ how we do business. Whether it has a name or buzz word, the fact is this trend is driven by the market, driven by the need to reduce cost or provide more value to remain competitive.
Some of this is about reducing or removing the dirty, dangerous and dull jobs for people. And in their place, new jobs will emerge, new skills to operate and manage the digital tools or machines required to complete the jobs.
It’s about using technology to make jobs easier and better – automating processes, providing real time visibility of status; moving from seeing what happens, to understanding why, to being able to predict what will happen and then being able to adapt and optimise autonomously.
Where machines are employed it’s about optimising the value out of them not only for us but also for our supply chain – a bit like the farm game ‘hay day’ my kids play, where you grow the raw materials but, depending on demand, you want the oven to bake two pies, followed by a loaf of bread and then a cake and then a couple more loaves of bread. Industry 4.0 is using data based on what is in the supply chain, what is needed to be delivered to optimise what a single machine or suite of machines produces.
Connecting machines, process and people to create more value.
For SEA 5000, leveraging the digital design capabilities around us to enable Industry 4.0 into our supply chain, we are planning a digital shipyard. Where engineering change can be tested in a virtual environment, seamlessly flow through to the fitters job list who will have the information on which jobs can be done now and which have a dependency on another trade or where someone else is working in that area. They will also be able to call up the engineer when something doesn’t look right and dial them in through Augmented Reality glasses to look at the problem together.
Wearables and machinery will interact to keep people safe. In these digital environments the location and quantity of parts and tools will be known and visible to the people that need them and deep into the supply chain. Automated vehicles will bring the parts and tools to the right place for the job, meaning more productive time for the skilled workforce.
We continue to actively engage across industry and government on this important topic.
The South Australian Government sees digitisation of the industrial base as a priority. They are supporting a number of developments in learning and education to support SMEs with engaging and developing Industry 4.0 related activities.
The world is changing because of this exponential Age. Whether it’s maximising the value of automation or looking to a different business model...