The fourth industrial revolution is upon us. Industry 4.0 is set to revolutionise manufacturing and production through the utilisation of cyber connected systems, which monitor factory processes to maximise efficiency and reduce downtime.
This article goes beyond the buzzwords surrounding Industry 4.0 and highlights how it is empowering Australian manufacturers in achieving maximum efficiency in coding and marking processes.
The first industrial revolution brought steam and the introduction of the first machines to mechanise production. The creation of electricity, mass production and assembly lines defined the evolution of industry 2.0. The widespread adoption of digital technologies and the introduction of automation stimulated the third industrial revolution.
This brings us to the fourth revolution, Industry 4.0, which is driven by four key trends:
- The increase in big data, computing power and connectivity
- Emergence of analytics and business-intelligence capabilities
- Development of human-machine interactions through touch interfaces and augmented reality
- Improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world, as demonstrated by 3D printing and advanced robotics.
Industry 4.0 is a globally accepted reality that is affecting nearly every industry worldwide, and is transforming how businesses operate. It introduces a 'smart factory', where cyber-physical systems monitor production processes and are capable of making decentralized decisions – for example, monitoring consumable levels in a printer and alerting users that a consumable changeover is required.
In an Industry 4.0 factory, every machine and computing device is integrated and connected to the internet, enabling them to send and receive data – this process is what's commonly known as the Internet of Things. The interconnectivity of these smart devices is empowering a step change in productivity, efficiency and customer-centric innovation for manufacturers.
For a factory or system to be considered Industry 4.0 it must include the following:
Machines, devices, sensors and people that connect and communication with one another.
2. Information Transparency
Connected devices create and record data to add context to what is being observed.
3. Technical Assistance
Machines or systems are capable of making informed decisions, problem solving, and assisting team members with complex or unsafe tasks.
4. Decentralised Decisions
Based on recorded data, cyber physical systems are able to make simple independent decisions and work autonomously.
Domino and Industry 4.0
The release of Domino's i-Techx platform and the Domino Cloud service tool are shaping Industry 4.0 in the areas of coding and marking. Both built into Domino's latest continuous inkjet technology the Ax-Series, is equipped with features to be ready for the factory of the future.
Designed from the ground up to be industry 4.0 ready, the Domino Ax-Series easily integrates into existing production lines and supports a variety of standard factory automation communication protocols such as PACK-ML and OPC-UA.
Additionally, an array of integrated sensors automate system monitoring, allowing for proactive and predictive diagnostics and remote service support through the Internet of Things (IoT) and connection to the Domino Cloud.
The Domino Cloud provides powerful remote diagnostics, remote monitoring and customer reporting capabilities. For example, Domino's i-Techx platform collects a vast array of data on printer operation – from running performance to ink and makeup levels, to wear and tear on components. This data is can be accessed through the Domino Cloud dashboard where it can be viewed by the customer at any time, regardless of the location. This enables the customer to be alerted to any issues, retrieve data for Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) calculations, and forecast ink and consumable orders.
Domino's i-Techx platform and the Domino Cloud service tool provides manufacturers with error-free coding and system integration, as well as remote access and monitoring. This results in a smart and interconnected network of machines and processes that centralises and simplifies coding processes.
Moreover, through automation, streams of information for OEE calculations and cost structures can be closely monitored to maximise efficiency, resulting in reduced downtime and increased production at the lowest possible cost.
Decentralised systems can increase profitability for manufacturers by streamlining and speeding up decisions, resulting in increased revenue, market share and profits for many businesses.
For coding and marking processes, Industry 4.0 means that inaccurate codes and unplanned downtime caused by equipment will no longer be a problem faced by manufacturers. Coding and marking machines will become part of a single intelligent factory operation, capable of monitoring performance and assisting team members with making informed decisions.