The power of smart technology is affecting the industrial world and fundamentally changing value chains and production methods. In fact, Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute predicts that smart factories could potentially add up to $1.5 trillion to the economy in the next five years. Continue reading to learn more about smart technology and how it is transforming the industrial world.
Schneider Electric’s Le Vaudreuil Factory
The National Institute of Standards and Technology describes the new landscape of smart technology as fully-integrated, collaborative manufacturing systems that respond in real-time to meet the changing demands and conditions in the factory, supply network, and customer needs.
The World Economic Forum has highlighted sixteen of the world’s smartest factories that they refer to as “lighthouses” that illuminate the benefits of the Industrial Internet of Things. Schneider Electric’s Le Vaudreuil factory in France is on this list and is a perfect example of converged power and automation. The factory draws on Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure technology and uses a variety of digital tools to enhance and control operations. EcoStruxure is an adaptable IoT-enabled architecture and platform that connects operating technologies with the newest information technologies.
Anyone who steps foot in the factory experiences the future of manufacturing, with technology such as mini data centers that store critical site data locally and allow for greater accessibility and security control, and sensors that monitor machinery to predict maintenance needs. Energy innovations and augmented reality accelerate operations and maintenance in the factory, resulting in productivity gains and energy savings.
There is no doubt that smart technology will continue to grow and evolve in the coming years. Industry 4.0, another name for the Industrial Internet of Things, is about machine and system interconnectivity, but there are now talks of Industry 5.0, which will focus on the blending of human and machine roles. This will involve “cobots,” or collaborative robots, working alongside human employees to create combined skills and strengths.
Although machine learning and artificial intelligence are the major aspects of smart manufacturing, human input is still crucial. While smart technologies possess autonomy, humans are still responsible for gathering, comparing, analyzing, and applying data. While technology continues to grow, it’s important to remember that smart factories are empowering the workforce, rather than replacing it! With Industry 5.0 on the way, manufacturers who want to remain competitive will need to embrace the latest digital technologies.
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