The Foundation of Industry 4.0

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Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the book “The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to...Advanced Manufacturing in the Digital Age” by Oren Manor.

At its basic level, an IoT device can be defined as any stand-alone internet-connected device that can be either monitored and/or controlled from a remote location. Each company using an IoT solution will also be building an IoT ecosystem, which is the foundation of Industry 4.0. This ecosystem is comprised of the components that enable devices to connect to the internet, such as remotes, dashboards, networks, gateways, analytics, data storage, and security—both software and hardware. One of the most valuable aspects of such an ecosystem is to be able to take the silos of information collected, analyze that information, and then optimize processes across a company’s systems to become more efficient.

When adopting IoT solutions, start with three main considerations. First, assess which parts of the production cycle can be automated and/or monitored most effectively with IoT devices connected to an analytics platform. IoT technology should be matched to the production cycle of your operation. Many categories of manufacturers throughout the world are producing unique goods across different industries. IoT solutions that work for some manufacturers will not work for others. Analyze all of the various digital technologies available and see which fit into your particular production process.

Second, assess ways in which solutions could improve the work environment rather than focusing solely on the return on investment (ROI). Instead, focus on implementing IoT solutions that make the manufacturing process more streamlined for your employees, even if it returns a minimal ROI or an initial increase in the cost of goods produced.

Third, be prepared to work with multiple IoT system providers. Few companies offer full-scale IoT solutions for manufacturers. However, divisions within major IoT providers can help each manufacturer integrate their IoT solutions with solutions from other vendors.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the March 2020 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.


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