The accelerated growth of exponential technologies, along with the optimization of the production system, are forcing traditional manufacturing companies to digitise their functions and processes. In order to describe this digital transformation. The 'Industry 4.0' term has been coined in order to describe this digital shift, and is synonymous with the fourth industrial revolution in the history of manufacturing, which is altering the future of conventional manufacturing.
Around the world, Industry 4.0, namely the fourth industrial revolution in the history of manufacturing, is transforming the future of conventional manufacturing. Technological advances and digitalisation facilitate the merging of the real and the digital world to create a new era of physical-to-digital-to-physical and pave the way for disruptive approaches to development, production and the entire logistics chains.
The new era of interconnectivity and digitalisation provides manufacturing leaders with the opportunity to explore new means to achieve their business objectives. The 'internet of things' and exponentially growing technologies create the potential to develop improved operations, transform their entire value chains, from raw materials to end-use to recovery and their business models. The careful and correct implementation of Industry 4.0 technology allows for improved productivity and quality of products and services, better asset efficiency, increased engagement with customers and new products development. Additive manufacturing for rapid prototyping, customisation, big data analysis for understanding customers' needs and setting pricing and 'smart' factories are a few of the emerging trends not only in the manufacturing industry but also in areas such as transportation (train operators, airlines) and medicine.
Manufacturers will need to start shifting to Industry 4.0 early if they are not to be left behind by the developments and their competitors. There will be several challenges in implementing the Industry 4.0, which they will need to overcome; finding and recruiting the appropriate talent, installing the suitable technologies and IT infrastructure and developing new communication networks, data ownership, control and security issues and standards on interoperability.
The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre has recently launched a Cyprus wide survey among medium and large size manufacturers in Cyprus, in order to assess their current situation in relation to Industry 4.0 and their readiness to adopt elements of Industry 4.0 in the next 3-4 years. The results of the survey will be compiled into a report, which will be presented in an event in early November.
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