The 4.0 Industry concept has strongly reemerged in the wake of the Covid-19 health crisis, which is accelerating many technological and digital processes that until now had been a short journey. During this crisis we have had the opportunity to see how some of the 4.0 Industry technologies, such as 3D printing, have served to manufacture respirators in record time.
In the context of production processes, the total integration of all the physical and the digital world information and the adoption of new technologies for their progressive automation is a challenge that cannot wait, and more so in the current context. When we talk about 4.0 Industry, we refer to concepts such as 3D technology, virtual and augmented reality, the IoT (Internet of Things), intelligence and artificial vision, virtual assistants, big data, cloud computing, blockchain, modern design programs and simulation of processes, nano and biotechnology or quantum computing.
The huge amount of data collected by interconnected -and increasingly intelligent- technology is at the core of what is also known as the fourth industrial revolution. But Industry 4.0 means going one step further: It is revolutionizing not only the methods of manufacturing products, but also their distribution, storage, and the way customers relate to businesses.
The 4.0 Industry concept, however, does not only refer to technological tools. It also implies the incorporation of greater flexibility and individualization of manufacturing processes. The car industry is a pioneer in this area, and it is where great progress is already being seen in this area because manufacturers have to adapt vehicles to the individual needs of customers in a quick and efficient way.
But the new digital industry faces significant challenges to be truly viable. One of them is the training and management of human capital to be able to carry out this transformation. 4.0 Industry is generating a demand for workers with new skills in these new technologies related to the knowledge necessary to implement technological solutions in their processes.
On the other hand, many companies still don’t have adequate infrastructures to integrate more and more sensors, new technologies, or have wireless communication capabilities. Factories must gain in interoperability and in collecting data in a massive way from the elements that make up their production processes, and in turn must be able to manage and analyze these large amounts of data.
Another aspect to be taken into account is that of cybersecurity, since digital and technological transformation can cause gaps that may challenge companies.
Lastly, all this technological change must also take into consideration sustainability and energy savings.
Finalmente, todo este cambio tecnológico deberá tener en cuenta