If we look at the history of industry, we can distinguish 4 stages characterised by the incorporation of major changes in relation to its predecessor state. Industry 1.0 introduced steam power and mechanisation, Industry 2.0 brought with it assembly line production and Industry 3.0 deepened the automation of processes. Each of them represented a leap forward in improving efficiency in relation to the use of resources.
In 2010, the German government introduced a new definition: Industry 4.0. It is characterised by the implementation, or further development, of big data, simulation, artificial intelligence, automation, integration systems, internet of things, cloud computing, robotics and augmented reality, among other tools. It therefore implies a new leap in production processes.
This is how the concept of smart factories arises, being those that incorporate all these tools, managing to increase productivity, reducing their times and reducing their consumption of resources. For example, automating repetitive tasks and increasing the quality of products thanks to the analyses carried out, among other actions.
The fundamental pillar of Industry 4.0 is data. Both its collection and its processing and analysis. The information obtained must be processed and analysed by experts in order to identify possible corrections and/or improvements. Therefore, it can be seen that data becomes the starting point for diagnosis and future decision-making.
The objective of every technological leap that history has witnessed has always been to increase efficiency in relation to the use of resources and the integral improvement of processes. Let us remember that, in a competitive market, the company that benefits from the consumer’s choice will be the one that offers the best product, the lowest price or both at the same time. Therefore, the implementation of new technologies is fundamental to achieve this. Undoubtedly, a company that uses technology will have an advantage over those that do not.