Industry 4.0: a digital transformation in 4 steps

Recent technological advances have led to a radical transformation of our daily lives, but also of our working methods. Greater productivity, reduced costs, continuous search for quality and improvement: organizations must take up new challenges and develop innovative solutions to maintain an optimum level of production and efficiency. To this end, many industrial companies have turned to Industry 4.0.

What is Industry 4.0?

Used for the first time in 2011, “Industry 4.0” quickly became a synonym for modernity and flexibility. Industry 4.0 refers to the fourth industrial revolution, characterized by the automation of industrial processes, as a response to the challenges of an industrial sector in search of a necessary digital transition.

Industry 4.0 is the systematic digitalization of an organization’s processes (maintenance, production or accountability) in order to collect, store and analyze its data. By exploring new production approaches, Industry 4.0 provides companies with a different economic model driven by new technologies.

Today, companies considering Industry 4.0 benefit from a wide range of digital solutions. Thanks to growing storage capacities, LoRa (Long Range) networks, connected sensors and next-gen CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System), everyday technologies are opening up further opportunities and enabling organizations to seek new limits to conquer. In this article, we will expose the four main steps of your transition towards Industry 4.0.

Networks, connectivity and mobility

With the global deployment of the Internet and mobile networks, organizations have gradually acquired new communication tools. Smartphones, tablets and CMMS software have become maintenance professional’s must-have.

The introduction of these new channels has not only contributed to the improvement of communication between maintenance teams, they have also given a new impetus to their mobility; maintenance professionals no longer rely on a fixed station, they now have the opportunity to operate in a flexible and autonomous manner. Data are collected directly on each piece of equipment, thus reducing the risk of information losses, and technicians are given free access to technical documents (plans, manufacturer’s documentation…) in digital format directly on their CMMS, which in the end helps the company save time. Maintenance technicians are no longer wasting valuable time seeking the information they need, as they get immediate feedback on Mobility Work CMMS’ newsfeed, inspired by social networks.

For all these reasons, it is fundamental that companies provide their employees with a reliable connectivity on all their production sites, and this at an early stage of their transition to Industry 4.0.

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Collaborating and sharing information

Any organizational transformation is very likely to bring about deep changes in the company’s codes and culture. In this regard, organizations need to help their collaborators prepare themselves for the evolutions to come and assist them along the way, in order to complete the project. This is all the more relevant if we consider the variety of profiles living together within the same professional environment. Tools and technologies must be adapted and accessible to the most. Offering a flexible, easy-to-use and user-friendly software is at the heart of Mobility Work next-gen CMMS.

By allowing different departments to share information, the applications of Industry 4.0 help breaking down silos within the company. Mobility Work CMMS, the first  maintenance social network, has become a leverage for collaboration, a preferred place for employees for exchanging and sharing, with the ambition to become an information hub within the company. Maintenance, but also production, purchase or accountability could benefit from this very powerful tool as well.

Mobility Work enables companies to ease their transition towards Industry 4.0 thanks to a CMMS in SaaS mode. This next-gen software, available entirely online, gives organizations the ability to rationalize and optimize their industrial maintenance processes, while reducing their IT expenses.

Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0

Watch, glasses or T-shirts: smart objects are increasingly present in our daily lives, but also in our jobs… With the rise of Industry 4.0, there are now multiple examples of equipment and “smart” - i.e. connected to Internet - measurement or temperature sensors, which collect equipment data directly on the field.

This generation of smart devices is programmed to automatically assess any operating deviations in real time against an optimal configuration of use. These data are then sent to a CMMS software and provide professional experts with valuable information on the production assets’ state.

With Mobility Work next-gen CMMS, maintenance teams are able to monitor their equipment’s state, to set up alarms, to predict defaults and consequently reduce the equipment’s downtime. In the long-term, the organizations’ productivity will thrive while their costs in industrial maintenance will scale down.

Big Data: a valuable storage solution of Industry 4.0

Although the IoT offers new ways to gather information automatically, one question remains: how can the industry benefit from this large amount of data? Here is where Big Data reveals its true potential.

What is Big Data?

The term Big Data refers to a massive storage system of a company’s data on an internal or external server. Traditionally, these kind of data sets were too complex to be processed, not only because of their volume, but also of their variety and the speed at which data are generated. In the past few years, Big Data methods have unlocked the possibilities of mass data storage, processing and consolidation.

Companies entering Industry 4.0 have access to innovative tools to collect and process high-quality data directly on the field. They can, for instance, find their equipment and plan predictive maintenance interventions simply by scanning a QR code on Mobility Work CMMS. No more unnecessary time-consuming travel: all information are available on the application.

The rise of predictive maintenance

The growing digitalization of companies marks the beginning of a new era for industrial maintenance: the emergence of predictive maintenance. A new generation of smart sensors appeals an increasing number of manufacturers who wish to improve their maintenance methods. Thanks to these state-of-the-art sensors, it is now possible to measure in real-time levels of temperature, vibration, pressure or luminosity of a piece of equipment, and to trigger a maintenance intervention, if need be.

Next-gen CMMS are based on this very principle. When deploying a predictive maintenance plan, they become an asset of undeniable value. Mobility Work CMMS acts as a focal point of information between your equipment, your ERP, your maintenance teams and the other departments of your organization. Thanks to its integrated analytics program, Mobility Work allows any maintenance manager to easily analyze his maintenance data and make the right decision.

Artificial intelligence

The analytical processing of mass data has become a key factor in industrial maintenance. The improvement of predictive algorithms as well as the development of Big Data and artificial intelligence have led to a profound transformation of the industry.

Today, there are many industrial applications offering data analysis solutions, forecasting calculation models, etc. For the industrial sector, these technologies present true economic and structural challenges.

How does next-gen CMMS meet the changing needs of the industry?

In the maintenance sector, detailed data analysis now makes it possible to monitor the condition of equipment in real time and to adjust your industrial maintenance plan accordingly. Based on the installation history, the algorithms detect possible performance deviations from a predefined optimal level. The teams are then notified by automatic alarms sent to their CMMS software.

Unlike corrective maintenance, predictive maintenance plans - based on the principles of artificial intelligence - consist in triggering the maintenance intervention only when it is really necessary. By constantly analyzing all this data, predictive maintenance promotes optimal resources, inventory and maintenance costs management.

Although the predictive mode represents a higher initial investment, its ROI is no longer to be proven. According to a McKinsey report, predictive maintenance could save companies up to $630 billion a year by 2025. In the long term, Industry 4.0 and next-gen CMMS are therefore part of a rationalization process for companies wishing to reduce their industrial maintenance costs while continually improving the reliability of their equipment.

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