Since it's inception in Germany in 2011, Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, has set out to transform the process manufacturing industry. It brings together a number of technological advances, including machine learning (ML), cloud and edge computing, big data from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and robotic process automation.
Manufacturers today are already seeing the transformative benefits of Industry 4.0 and recent surveys have shown that the significant impacts are still to come, with up to 85% of American manufacturing companies set to be using smart factories by 2025.
But is progress towards this Fourth Industrial Revolution lagging behind the optimistic perception of its potential?
Where is the gap when it comes to realising the value of Industry 4.0 and implementation?
Have companies adapted to a change in culture that sees them able to move beyond the proof of concept? Or are there still issues with plants struggling to integrate data and connect across all systems?
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was felt across a number of industries, but it seems that the aluminium sector was able to use this time to accelerate plans for robotic automation programs and ensure factory employees were kept at safe distances, while integrating more remote working and assisted technologies.
Smart factory tools like remote monitoring, predictive maintenance and analytics played a crucial role while plants ran on skeleton staff and supply chains were interrupted.
So, how can the aluminium sector ensure there isn't a gap between those industry leaders who are already embracing Industry 4.0 and those who are holding back from making changes.
Is it now a case of no other choice, but to act fast and catch up?
This year's Future Aluminium Forum will aim to answer all of these questions and look at the challenges of implementation, especially with pilot projects, which can tend to get stuck when it comes to scaling practices into production processes.
Join us for another virtual conference on 1st - 2nd December 2021, to address the challenges behind implementing Industry 4.0 technologies and find out why building digital culture across an organisation is key to a fully digital transformation.