In order for a machine to excel, it must possess not only the physical capabilities needed to process goods, but also proficiency in the digital realm. The key to achieving this is by adopting an Industry 4.0-ready approach.
But what does this buzzword mean?
In short, there are 3 main features in our industry: offline programming, remote control of operations, and real-time reception of data feeds — all using standardized protocols.
Offline programming refers to being off-the-line, away from the machine itself, typically in an office setting, using CAM software to generate programs and machine instructions without the need for physical interaction with the machine.
Remote control enables you to initiate programs on a machine from a distance. This device can take various forms, such as a tablet, a PC in the office, or even a cloud app controlled by headquarters in another country. It eliminates the need for operators to physically move around the floor to keep the machines running.
Data feeds, often misunderstood, offer more than simple start/stop signals. They provide valuable insights into the machine’s current state and actions it performs. All of this information is logged and organized on a timescale for easy reference and analysis.
The most important characteristic, often overshadowed by marketing buzzwords, is that being industry 4.0 ready does not simply mean that machines “talk to each other.”
Instead, it’s about having a centralized source of truth and interacting with your machines digitally in a fully integrated manner.
There is much more to discuss here, but let’s continue in the next section by covering some common data standards that can help you access and utilize your data effectively.