Industry 4.0 in Automotive Industry: Top Applications, Benefits, and Examples

Feb 08, 2022
Manufacturing | 9 min READ
Industry 4.0 Automotive Manufacturing
Significant benefits of Industry 4.0 and its value addition in achieving operational excellence have been realized way before the pandemic has rocked all our lives. With the digital disruption and technological shifts influencing the entire ecosystem, recent evidence showed about 94% of the organizations believed Industry 4.0 helped in the smooth functioning of the operations.
Shirish Sahay
Shirish Sahay

VP & Sales Head

Manufacturing & Life Sciences, Europe


Ajay Tiwari
Ajay Tiwari

VP & Global Head



Automotive manufacturing is one of the many industries that reimagined operational strategies and technological infrastructure to leverage Industry 4.0 capabilities.
Top Market Trends
The Industry 4.0 market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.6% from 2021 to 2026. The rapid adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), increasing demand for bots across different sectors, rising government investments in technological advancement, emerging trends, and use of blockchain and digital currencies are some of the top contributing factors boosting the growth and adoption of Industry 4.0 tech across industries.
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Application of Industry 4.0 in Automotive
Additive Manufacturing
Seamless move from fuel-efficient, powerful vehicles to the emerging electric-powered vehicles, the automotive industry is witnessing some path-breaking changes with the onset of Industry 4.0. One such remarkable development is the inclusion of Additive Manufacturing or 3D Printing.
Additive manufacturing is a cutting-edge and faster-growing technology that allows designers to work on and simplify rapid prototypes and complex designs, which otherwise would have been hard to achieve through legacy subtractive manufacturing processes. This newfound technology provides the automotive industry with designs and freedom to innovate, making the supply chain proficient. In addition, this is an efficient, optimized, and cost-effective way to enable testing, manufacturing, managing, and assembling automotive parts and components.
Industry 4.0 in Automotive Industry: Top Applications, Benefits, and Examples
Digital Twins
"Digital Twins" is a primary data-driven manufacturing concept, enabling manufacturers and enterprises to simulate products, building faster, cost-effective, and quality benchmarked products.
A digital twin is a virtual doppelganger of an entire vehicle in the automotive industry, replicating its software, mechanics, electrics, and physical characteristics. The digital twin is all-inclusive of real-time sensors, performance, inspection metrics, service history, configuration changes, warranty, and replacement data.
Big Data and Analytics
Cost pressure, high-strung competition, market volatility, and sudden disruption have been challenging for the automotive industry. Big Data and Analytics is a powerful tool that helps discover incredible possibilities. Analytics, when done right, can help in the advancement of the automotive industry in several ways. It effectively enhances vehicle security, increases uptime, decreases repair costs, and much more.
AI in Automotive
Artificial Intelligence uses data and algorithms to recreate human intelligence and smart thinking. It contributes to independent problem solving across different sectors. AI finds numerous applications across the automotive assembly and value chain.
Currently, AI is sought after and implemented in design thinking, automotive manufacturing, production, supply chain, and distribution. In addition, AI is used to create 'driver assistance' and 'driver risk assessment' systems, transforming and strengthening security in the transportation sector. AI is also gaining a stronghold in the aftermarket services such as predictive maintenance and insurance.
Autonomous Robots
For decades, the automotive industry has been using robots in its production and assembly lines. This technology pushes the industry to be more efficient, accurate, and agile in the process. In addition, the use of robotic vision, spot and arc welding, painting, sealing and coating, internal logistics, and material repair and removal helps the workforce at large with the heavy work, reducing loss of workforce and speeding up production.
Auto manufacturers, businesses, sellers, and insurers are processing millions of transactions daily. While transactions are now mainly online, through banks, web or mobile, cybersecurity risks, lack of transparency, excessive documentation continue to prove irksome, getting in the way of productivity.
Blockchain technology has been a promising tool leading to stress-free and painless transactions. Blockchains are shielded from accidental data deletion or loss and easily integrate with the existing technological framework. Blockchain is a perfect immunity booster against fraud prevention and ensures process automation wherever required. A blockchain-based service always enhances your current system making everything better.
Redefining solutions aligned with the new automotive age, IIoT is bringing in advanced and connected car solutions, keeping innovation at an all-time high. Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) applications, Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) applications, in-vehicle infotainment systems, predictive maintenance solutions, navigation & telematics, and Vehicle to Everything (V2X) communication applications, IIoT has immense potential to design and innovate come of age automotive features.
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the auto industry are using Cloud Computing and Solutions to improve the quality and efficiency of production. From sales to aftermarket service, the technology introduces the concept of new connected vehicles across all categories. Automotive suppliers use cloud computing to maximize uptime, improve first-time quality and optimize productivity. In addition, dealers leverage cloud computing and cloud technologies to reach and engage potential in-market shoppers, monitor vehicle performance, and create a customer service experience. Thanks to the cloud, consumers today enjoy enhanced shopping experiences, timely service, and variety.
IT-OT Convergence
IT/OT convergence is one consolidated way to control industrial operations. It integrates the overall technology framework with the operational framework, the information technology (IT), the hardware, and software.
The convention siloed approach practiced by the factory workers is now challenging with PLCs, human-machine interfaces, industrial PCs, and automation controllers installed in every touchpoint. Incorporating modern capabilities in the legacy system proves difficult and might lead to disparity in management systems.To avoid interoperability issues and production inefficiency, a seamless marriage between IT-OT frameworks is necessary to produce that perfect vehicle.
Intelligent Automation
What we have today is a supercomputer on wheels. The modern car is an automated automobile with lots of sensors and cameras that generate a wealth of data. With the help of Intelligent Automation, data and technology are brought together for collection, manipulation, analysis, and dissemination. Robotic process automation is an absolute necessity on the automobile shop floor, from welding to assembly to painting, and this technology manages everything. Even car financing and distribution have been simplified through automation.
From physical to digital bots, making the most of robotic process automation has been the current trend in the automotive industry. Bots are everywhere, from handling customer queries in contact centers, car loans, financing, scheduling service appointments with dealers, sending alerts, running diagnostics, and even selling cars.
AR VR in Automotive
Augmented and Virtual Reality can strengthen our capabilities and influence our multiple senses — visual, olfactory, haptic, auditory, and somatosensory. Visual formats of AR prevail in the automotive sector via screens or glasses. A perfect concoction of AR and VR enhances the physical world with the necessary virtual elements to recreate a virtual environment. AR adds context to the displays placing 3D models into real situations. For example, AR in automotive aids in creating various formats of head-up displays (HUDs) for different applications.
Industry 4.0 in Automotive Industry: Top Applications, Benefits, and Examples
Impact of Industry 4.0 In Automotive Manufacturing
End Outcomes
The digital shift has caused a major shift in consumer expectations—flexible and agile top the game today. Consumers are looking for flexible solutions instead of committing to large-scale investments in this fast-moving world. Industry 4.0 adoption has made processes and operations more flexible in the automotive industry.
Automakers are looking to be more efficient. Hence, adopting the Industry 4.0 practices seem to be the best way to go. Assembly process optimization with AR images of vehicle chunks or technical information, making operations cost-efficient by prototyping and reducing design price. In addition, AR-guided warehouse location detectors, automated processes for storing parts, and product development induce productivity.
Higher demand for production requires the implementation of digital twins, automation, programmable bots, and predictive analytics. Industry 4.0 practices are agile can be configured easily with minimal human intervention.
Industry 4.0 in Automotive Industry: Top Applications, Benefits, and Examples
Value Chain Outcomes
Product R&D innovation
The winner takes it all! When visibility matters a lot, innovation comes to the rescue. OEM and vehicle manufacturers can leverage 4.0 to innovate design, framework, process flows, and practices to stay ahead of the curve.
Demand/Supply planning
Predictive Analytics demand forecasting is implemented across the industry and proves beneficial. The automakers are now well-equipped to withstand a sudden spike in demand or an inventory accumulation.
Shop floor operations
As there is a growing inclination towards AI, ML, IoT, and automation, operations are connected even without WiFi and appropriate infrastructure. Track and trace functionality enabled for detecting the movement of parts and equipment. Significant information exchange with the help of the digital twin and blockchain technology.
Supply chain optimization
Industry 4.0 induces supply chain 4.0. With industries and production getting more localized, manufacturers are redesigning their supply chain implementing best practices and emerging technology.
Aftermarket sales
Industry 4.0 capabilities provide a major boost to customer support and services, field service operations helping manufacturers to deliver a uniform aftermarket experience. This, in turn, improves the dealer's responsiveness while curbing the vehicle downtime.
Sales and marketing
Processing customer inquiries, generating quality prospects, automation of contact centers, incorporating AI and process automation in different walks of marketing, processing account sheets, and more for smoother process operations.
Workplace Safety
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, implementation of bots, AI, and process automation fine-tune the different aspects of the work environment, ensuring safe and sound production.
Examples of Industry 4.0 in Automotive Manufacturing
Top of the lot automotive names today adhere to best Industry 4.0 practices to stay above the competition and lead the market.
BMW has an all-equipped, best-in-class Additive Manufacturing Center in Munich and professes that the company has recognized the technology for over 28 years. The automaker giant has 100,000+ precision components developed and manufactured every year, from prototypes to intricate plastic mountings and complex metal chassis parts.
Jaguar Land Rover has resorted to a closed-loop manufacturing process, developed with Dimensional Control Systems. The process involves actual and accurate measurements of the assembly process with the help of precursor CAD analysis and simulation tools. Furthermore, Mercedes promotes its 'Factory 56' concept, intending to equip its employees with Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and other digital tools. This will enable visualization of the production processes and optimized virtual reality to enhance accuracy and precision and enhance vehicle quality and speed.
Maruti Suzuki, the numero uno for customer support and service for over a decade, adheres to their "Market to One" approach, which is the main reason behind customer retention policy. This approach brings all the elements to create a personalized experience for each of its customers, which has paid the brand off with an overall 3% growth in the first few months of adopting the strategy. The technology backbone of this concept was the powerful SAS, a software suite for advanced data analytics, creating a 360-degree view of the requirements of more than 10 million customers.
When it comes to Industry 4.0 integration, most companies are observed to remain stuck in a "pilot trap." A clear understanding of a company's most challenging business concerns, proper articulation of its aspirations and future goals, and a greater awareness of the technologies that could address them would help draft the precise digital strategy to implement 4.0 practices with ease. With focused and strategic digital efforts on important business opportunities, companies can scale faster across all realms.
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