Industry 4.0: How to Tackle Current Challenges

Machines that communicate with data, and factories that operate autonomously – sounds like science fiction? In many businesses, Industry 4.0 technologies have long since become a reality. Big Data, IoT, and robotics promise increased efficiency, reduced production costs, and better decision-making, among other benefits. However, they also bring their own set of challenges.

As a member of the DAC.Digital Group, with its deep-tech delivery capabilities, Punktum actively participates in Industry 4.0 and has access to many of the latest technological developments.

Discover how businesses successfully implement Industry 4.0 projects in this article.

What is Industry 4.0?

We are currently experiencing it: Industry 4.0 refers to the fourth phase of industrialization – the era of the Smart Factory and autonomous systems. The concept was introduced in 2011 as part of a future project.

SAP provides the following definition:

“Industry 4.0 can be defined as the integration of intelligent digital technologies into manufacturing and industrial processes. This encompasses a range of technologies, including industrial IoT networks, AI, Big Data, robotics, and automation. […] The goal is to increase productivity, efficiency, and flexibility while enabling smarter decision-making […].”

Everything started with the invention of water and steam power in the late 18th century. Since the first Industrial Revolution, much has changed – and the intervals between each phase have drastically shrunk. Today, Industry 5.0 is already on the horizon.

Industry Through Time – From Industry 1.0 to 4.0.

Companies that strategically implement 4.0 technologies can make their manufacturing more productive, efficient, and flexible. And make better, data-driven decisions.

Intelligent computers and IT systems are interconnected and constantly exchanging information.

What does a typical Industry 4.0 project look like?

An Industry 4.0 project typically consists of six phases that build upon each other. The example of modernizing a production line illustrates what happens in each phase:

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Analysis of the current device status

How do various devices interact? What data is collected? What interfaces and transfer points exist? What is the condition of the machine?
Two

Goal setting

What do we want to achieve? Do we want to become more efficient or introduce new standards? Do we want to improve the data basis for quality management?
Three

Evaluation of available technologies

What equipment is needed? How is the software managed? Do we need adapters for interfaces?
Four

Planning of implementation

What needs to happen when? Where are potential weak points?
Five

Implementation and testing

Where are the requirements met, and where not? Where are there bottlenecks?
Six

Testing in live operation

How do the processes behave in operation? Is everything running as planned?

What can companies expect from Industry 4.0 projects?

In conversations with our clients, three reasons for implementing 4.0 technologies are repeatedly mentioned:

Reduced downtime

Operational failures should no longer be a surprise. With the introduction of new technologies, maintenance windows should become predictable and, above all, controllable.

Lower production costs

The networking of systems should reduce operating costs. This is a topic that affects not only large players: even small companies can save between 40 to 60 percent of engineering costs.

Improved processes

The manufacturing duration can be shortened significantly. For a client in the semiconductor sector, we were able to reduce the previous duration from 27 days to 2 days through targeted automation

What are the challenges of Industry 4.0 – and how are they solved?

I4.0 technology can indeed be a catalyst for your company – if implemented correctly. Many of our clients face similar challenges, which can be categorized into three areas: methods, people, and technologies.

For each hurdle, there is a suitable solution approach. However, potential difficulties must be identified in a timely manner.


ChallengesPossible solutions
Architectural deficits
Too much planning in advance
Isolated workflows
Methods
Agile architecture development
Measure results and successes early on
Test different approaches
Shortage of skilled workers
Personnel dependencies
Lack of knowledge transfer
Humans
External consulting and support
Prompt elimination of bottlenecks
Early automation
Proprietary interfaces
Outdated systems
No interoperability of systems
Technology
Greenfield Approach
Simulations & new technologies
Thinking about adapters at an early stage

Outlook on Industry 5.0

A risk factor that becomes the downfall of many companies is the human factor. This component requires an institutional solution and therefore plays a central role in the development from Industry 4.0 to Industry 5.0.

Industry 5.0 will focus on how humans can optimally work together with advanced technology and AI-intelligent robots. It should be possible for people to fully utilize their skills and make work with machines more efficient and safer – also with a view to sustainability.

What you can do today:

  • Aim for quick results by eliminating bottlenecks.
  • Plan ahead and continuously adapt.
  • Don’t shy away from external support.
  • Integrate a human and sustainable perspective for Industry 5.0.

Get in touch with us

Do you have questions about Industry 4.0 or would like to have your project reviewed?