Smart Factory is the vision of a production environment in which production facilities and logistics systems are organised without human intervention.
The technical foundations on which the Smart Factory – the intelligent factory – is based are cyber-physical systems that communicate with each other using the Internet of Things and Services.
An important part of this process is the exchange of data between the product and the production line. This enables a much more efficient connection of the Supply Chain and better organisation within any production environment.
The manufacturing information provided by the product on an RFID chip in machine-readable form can be used to control the product’s path through the individual manufacturing steps.
The Smart Factory is the core element of Industry 4.0. The decisive factor in designing a Smart Factory in practice is that all elements of the factory – tools, products and plant technology – are equipped with integrated computing power. In this way, the data can be captured, processed and forwarded. The data acquisition and control of the production takes place in real time.
A New Industrial Revolution
The world is in the early stages of a fourth Industrial Revolution that holds the potential for a massive impact on industrial efficiency and productivity. It goes by a variety of names and terms: the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the Industrial Internet, Industry 4.0, and Smart Factory, to name a few.
Smart factories are not just a thing of the future. They exist now, and Industry 4.0 pioneers are leading the way across a broad cross-section of industries, pushing competitors to use the Industrial Internet as a tool to take them to the next level.
Machines and automated processes have replaced some low-skill jobs, the advanced technologies involved in Industry 4.0 have created a tremendous demand for highly-skilled workers to program, analyse, and maintain the many parts of these complex systems.
Although today’s people understand connected devices and their benefits, many still lack the skills they will need to thrive in an Industry 4.0 environment. They see the benefits of advanced technology, but they lack real-world exposure to manufacturing equipment and processes.
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