Perhaps you’ve heard of Industry 4.0. Or even the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). If you haven’t, get ready – Industry 4.0 is the next evolution of integrated design and production. It will likely impact how manufacturers build their products, including how Rittal designs and builds customized enclosure solutions for its customers.
The concept of Industry 4.0 was introduced the Hannover Messe trade fair in 2011 and it addresses how to create a fully integrated value chain in both the manufacturing and IT sectors Rittal serves. The key issue for industry lies in optimizing production processes, the material supply and resource planning. One particularly significant concern is the large quantity of data that needs to be processed in real time.
In traditional environments, the interface with production is restricted to providing services and data, engineering and the necessary ERP and PDM systems. In terms of the machinery itself, interfaces were only used for industrial communication protocols. We’re rapidly seeing new trends and technologies such as the “Internet of Things” that are revolutionizing these structures. This involves machines communicating with each other based on established and therefore cost-effective Internet technologies.
To harness the potential of Industry 4.0, it is now necessary to address the unresolved questions regarding monitoring, security, confidentiality, standardization, legal frameworks and establishing infrastructure (building up state-of-the-art power and communication networks).
The advantages that “Internet of Things” offers must be balanced against the requirements of a production environment. It will be necessary to manage a diverse range of communication participants as well as process increasingly large quantities of data.
It is therefore not just IT issues that need to be considered in the context of Industry 4.0, but also integrating the necessary IT and production infrastructures. Read more in Rittal’s Industry 4.0 white paper.