GF Machining Solutions Industry 4.0 envisions the smart factory of the future
Switzerland - Imagine a future in which even the most complex and demanding industries enjoy intelligent, high-performance, resource efficient and fully predictive manufacturing. That is the vision and the ultimate destination of Industry 4.0, a movement gathering force around the world today.
Industry 4.0 is known by a wide variety of names: the factory of the future, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, smart factories, brilliant factories or, at the Swiss level, Industry 2025. Regardless of the name, the vision brings together a constellation of intelligence and modern automation, data exchange and manufacturing technologies. Chief among these are:
- Adaptive cyber-physical systems, engineered from seamless integration of computational algorithms and physical components including machine tools.
- The Internet of Things and Services, a system connecting any device or machine to the Internet and/or with other devices, and enabling objects to become “smart” and to gather, analyze and exploit massive amounts of data (big data analytics). The Internet of Things and Services is disrupting business models and giving rise to powerhouse new services.
Pioneering the development of Industry 4.0 for manufacturing are research institutions like RWTH Aachen University and the Fraunhofer Institute of Production Technology as well as manufacturing solutions leader and research collaborator GF Machining Solutions.
Solutions to meet industry’s challenges
Examples of how Industry 4.0 benefits manufacturers can easily be found in a wide variety of industries, says Roberto Perez, head of Industry 4.0, at GF Machining Solutions.
“Our strategy focuses on industrial segments that share the challenges of consistently maintaining highest productivity, quality and accuracy in their manufacturing processes while optimising costs and increasing agility and flexibility amidst the market turmoil. At the same time, we must provide solutions for specific requirements, like the aerospace and medical industries’ need for surface integrity and process traceability,” Perez explains. “Our Industry 4.0 approach is to envision intelligent manufacturing solutions that will target fully predictive processes, which could be readily tuned to the best performance with respect to specific but fast-changing requirements faced by complex manufacturing businesses”.
Making those solutions possible is digitisation, the conversion of information into a digital format that can be understood by computer systems. Digitisation establishes the foundation for cyber-physical systems.