What is the industry of the future and what are its challenges?

19 October 2021

In recent years, we have seen a profound transformation of production plants. This transformation towards connected factories thanks to new and increasingly powerful technologies represents the future of industry. Today, all stages of production can be monitored live.

The adaptation of companies to this new production mode will quickly become essential if they want to remain competitive in their environment. But this transformation represents many challenges that must be mastered in order to make a successful transition to the industry of the future.

The industry of the future

The industry of the future, also called industry 4.0, represents a new way of organizing the means of production. This industry encourages the implementation of interconnected factories 4.0, also called smart factories, where there are interactions between employees, machines and products.

Industry 4.0 is the successor to the first three industrial revolutions (steam engine in the 18th century, electricity in the late 19th century, computers and robotics in the 1970s).

It is based on an ultra-automated industrial model committed to meeting the requirements of product customization, while maintaining production costs equivalent to the old ones, despite small production volumes. This model is based on technological breakthroughs.

Technological challenges

Industry 4.0 combines several disruptive technologies. A disruptive technology represents an innovation of technology already existing or not, which, in time, will completely replace the technology currently dominant on the market.

The main disruptive technologies in Industry 4.0 are:

  • Additive manufacturing: also known as 3D printing, it allows the manufacture of parts by stacking successive layers. It can now be used to manufacture complex parts, for which traditional manufacturing can be less precise and more time-consuming.
  • Augmented reality: this technique, different from virtual reality, allows its users to add additional information in the real world using an overlay of visuals from a computer device. This process can be particularly useful during maintenance operations to guide the technician in his actions.
  • Robotics: industrial robots work in collaboration with operators on simple tasks, in order to replace the human arm and leave the operator time to concentrate on more complex tasks.

The main challenge of the industry of the future is to implement these new technologies in the manufacturing cycle of products, to adapt the industrial chain and allow an optimal use of the new tools of the smart factory.

Cultural issues

There are many cultural issues at stake. To ensure the proper implementation of the equipment and knowledge required by the new technologies of the industry of the future, companies must learn to collaborate with key partners. These partners will be able to advise and accompany them in the development or transformation of their plants. Companies will not be able to work on this change alone, due to a lack of knowledge and skills, and joining forces with other companies will be the way for them to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for the work they will have to carry out, so that the transition is carried out quickly and in an optimal way.

It will also be necessary to support the employees who work in the factory to avoid the image of job losses due to the automation of the production line taking hold among the operators. We need to support them in adapting their jobs and show them that they only need to adapt to new technologies, and that their jobs are not in danger because of the implementation of the connected factory.

Human resources management issues

The human resources of companies involved in a smart factory transformation are being turned upside down. They have to manage the transition of operators, and are also confronted with the need for competent resources in the new fields to be covered. There will be a need to call upon computer scientists, data experts, or even technicians to maintain the new technologies implemented.

Human resources issues are closely linked to technological issues. Indeed, as soon as a new technology is put in place, it will be necessary to ensure that the internal resources necessary for the proper functioning of this technology in the long term are available.

Investment issues

The purchase and installation of new equipment represents a huge investment for a company, which wonders how its investments will be profitable. Indeed, companies want the gains linked to their investment to be concrete, they want to gain in competitiveness and productivity. However, the gains are not immediately observable. It is first necessary to allow time for employees to adapt to their new positions and means of production. Afterwards, it is also necessary to know measure the improvements over the long term to realize the benefits for the company, after several manufacturing cycles.

The stakes of the transition from a traditional industry to a modern and connected industry of the future are therefore numerous, but they are also challenges for companies to adapt to new production methods and remain ever more competitive, regardless of their business environment.

The fourth industrial revolution is one more step towards the arrival of new fully connected and automated factories, to adapt precisely to demand, while optimizing the work of employees by saving time and efficiency.

What is the industry of the future and what are its challenges?

Monstock is the collaborative and powerful solution that allows you to project yourself into the future. Become an industry of the future and benefit from its advantages. Automate your processes with Monstock and benefit from technological challenges thanks to numerous integrations and compatible products but also cultural management, human resources and investment management. Gain in efficiency and productivity.

For more information : contact the Monstock team.

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