Internet Of Things Industria 4 0 Mod
Written by HT Editorial Staff

Internet of Things and Industry 4.0: which connection?

Terms such as the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, Smart Factory, and connected objects are more and more part of the common language and are included in what is defined as the “fourth industrial revolution”. Unlike the previous ones, the 4th Industrial Revolution involves synergistically different technologies and its major development is due to the use of objects belonging to the so called “Internet of Things”.

IoT objects can be defined as all the connected and intelligent devices that, through the creation and the management of a large amount of data (Big Data), help to automate and to make interactive one or more specific processes.

Smart Manufacturing and Industrial Internet of Things

Part of the wide concept of Industry 4.0 is also the Smart Manufacturing, namely the development policy focused on the introduction and integration of digital technology in the industrial sector.

In particular, in the industrial field, the importance of another term should be highlighted, less applied nonetheless important: Industrial Internet of Things that, unlike the simple IoT devices, identifies tools designed and assembled exclusively for their application in Industry 4.0.

Typical segments of the Industrial Internet of Things include:

  • Industrial Analytics o Manufacturing Big Data: the collection, analysis, interpretation, and communication of significant models derived from data in Manufacturing and Supply Management field, usually coming from IoT systems connected to the productive layer. The Manufacturing Big Data includes innovative techniques and tools in terms of Data Analytics & Visualization, Simulation, and Forecasting, always aimed to speed up and make more precise the decision-making processes.
  • Additive Manufacturing o Stampa 3D: a technology already considered completely revolutionary in the industrial field and constantly under development, to such an extent to include now plastics and metals among treatable materials and advanced technological processes such as Selective Laser Sintering, Electron Beam Melting, Fused Deposition Modelling, Stereolithography.
  • Advanced HMI: this term is related to the development of wearable IoT objects and of new human-machine interfaces that provide the acquisition, transmission, or communication of information through voice, tactile and visual command. Typical applications include augmented reality viewers, touch displays, and 3D scanners.
  • Cloud Manufacturing: it identifies the application of Cloud Computing in the Industry 4.0 for the support to productive processes and in the management of the supply chain. It may involve the virtualization of physical resources required for the production chain or data and process on cloud platforms.
  • Advanced Automation: it is referred to automated production systems and typically involves concepts such as self-learning, the ability to interact with the environment, automatic driving, pattern recognition and the ability to interact with human operators.

As it is easy to guess, the ultimate goal of IIoT devices is to optimize the production processes - and therefore the entire value chain - not only through the connection between different machines, but also by the regular production of data, by monitoring production times, the maintenance status of equipment and the consecutive prevention of downtimes.

Which is the link between Internet of Things and Industry 4.0?

According to the well-known consulting firm Mckinsey, Industry 4.0 represents the next digital phase of the manufacturing industry and is led by four key principles: maximum increase in data volume, computational power and connectivity, the need for specialists in analysis and business intelligence, and new forms of man-machine interaction (a common example is represented by touch panels).

The intersection between Industry 4.0 and connected objects – both belonging to IoT and IIoT, like for instance wearable objects and robotic technologies - will generate an increase in production quality, a reduction in costs, optimization of processes and more accurate control over the entire industrial sector.

In the end, the Industrial Internet of Things represents an indispensable component in Industry 4.0 - and therefore in the so-called Smart Industries - because it allows equipping machinery and production lines with a sort of inherent intelligence, guaranteed by the integration of IoT sensor actuators and Edge computing components for the elaboration of real time data and the ensuing initiation of automated processes.

It is important to notice how the human component is completely vital also in this kind of industry: the amount of Big Data made available by intelligent factories represents in fact a mine of precious information useful to define strategic actions, to make forecasts reliable, to reduce wastes, to increase flexibility and, more generally, to create a tangible added value both inside the organization and to the consumer audience.

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