Plants of Tomorrow: Winning the Industry 4.0 Race – Are you ready?

Apr 04, 2022
Manufacturing | 7 min READ
The Industry 4.0 Race
With digital disruption across the world came the fourth wave of the industrial revolution. Taking the digital intervention across big and small industries to a whole new level, Industry 4.0 brings together advanced artificial intelligence, robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), genetic engineering, quantum computing, and every facet of the modern technology that blurs the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds.
Neha Aggarwal
Neha Aggarwal

AVP & Head

Vertical Strategy - Manufacturing


Shamdutt Kamble
Shamdutt Kamble

Global Practice Director

Digital Manufacturing


Automotive manufacturing is one of the many industries that reimagined operational strategies and technological infrastructure to leverage Industry 4.0 capabilities.
Industry 4.0 welcomes a new era in the Industrial Revolution that focuses primarily on real-time data, interconnectivity, machine learning, and automation. Industry 4.0 carves out a more connected ecosystem that knits together technologies like IIoT and smart manufacturing, bringing a seamless cadence to physical production and operations to improve manufacturing and supply chain management. The need for connectedness and access to real-time analytics is a primary goal for sound operations today. Industry 4.0 helps organizations achieve this goal across every internal and external stakeholder.
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Why it has gathered pace
While Industry 4.0 technologies have been around for some time now, the pandemic accelerated the pace of adoption and forced organizations to reevaluate the strategies. In addition, the high-speed digital disruption added new pressure for the organizations to adopt new-age technologies faster to keep their operations swift and going in a well-planned direction. It proved to be a critical move for the early adopters and the newbies in the business. As a result, industry 4.0 is a major driver to scale business in a contactless world, generating desired outcomes for the customers and businesses alike.
Since successful scaling has gone a notch higher, Industry 4.0 technologies are expected to prove beneficial during these testing times of pandemic crisis. These odd times have shown the organizations that they can no longer ignore the loopholes in their IT infrastructure. The quest to find a quick fix for every move going wrong and its implementation has put pressure on organizations to roll out their initial industry 4.0 strategy and slowly create an approach to embrace it in totality.
What are the benefits/outcomes?
  1. Gives the competitive edge : As more and more brands are focused on logistics and supply chain optimization, investing in Industry 4.0 technology and solutions help do enhancements to your operations. Systems and processes need to function seamlessly, providing clients and customers the desired results at the quickest time possible to stay on top of your game,
  2. Makes you a better employer : Evolving with the latest technological advancement makes businesses more desirable to the young workforce. In addition, companies that invest in modern technology are perceived to be more innovative when it comes to solution designing.
  3. Collaborative and connected teams : Well-knitted Industry 4.0 creates a collaborative working environment, increasing efficiency between departments, within assembly lines, between operators, data managers, management, and ground workers. Hence, managing day-to-day operations become smoother with lesser friction.
  4. Real-time anomaly, issue detection and faster resolution : Advanced predictive analytics, data forecasting, connected operations, and automation detect issues at the very root, solving them proactively for smoother operations and customer delight.
  5. Effective cost management : Fine-tuning your legacy IT framework, the new-age technologies allow businesses to cut unnecessary costs and generate revenue, fueling growth. Manage and optimize every aspect of your manufacturing and supply chain operations in the most cost-effective manner.
The Rise of Plants of Tomorrow
One of the largest initiatives of Industry 4.0 so far in the cement manufacturing and building materials industry is the 'Plants of Tomorrow.' Compared to a conventional plant, these cement manufacturing plants will be 15-20% more efficient using the many faces of Industry 4.0 technologies.
What are Plants of Tomorrow?
Plants of Tomorrow implements the various modules of Industry 4.0 technologies and is the testing environment for how the integrated technology work to straighten out operations in the various business verticals. The technologies include predictive maintenance and operations that can detect anomalies and abnormalities in real-time processes, and actionable insights to correct and adjust processes and, optimize operation performance. In addition, the introduction of simulation and digital twin techniques helps optimize opportunities across functions.
AI and Robotic Process Automation are the other key elements. The strategic inclusion involves using unmanned surveillance and drone implementation to increase the frequency of inspection, identification, and safety assurance for employees.
Why do they matter?
Plants of Tomorrow open minds to innovation, widening scope, and creating new partnership models with both manufacturing and tech companies. They identify the most influential technology to bring a phase-wise change in their current IT legacy and infrastructure.
The operating model welcomes more talented digital minds and carve out a success story in global operations. The technology implemented is holistic in nature, providing data transparency to every stakeholder operating internally and externally. Cost-savings and producing more than expected at a shorter turnaround time are other crucial benefits of these connected plants.
Deconstructing Plants of Tomorrow
A thoughtfully curated combination of legacy infrastructure blended with the new-age AI, computational data, connectivity, and collaboration brings peace to the overall operation and contributes to faster decision making. In addition, predictive analytics offer better technical and personnel information when applied to the operating data and conventional models. As a result, it is easier to discover alternate strategies, thorough advices for operators, and bring autonomy to the system.
Integrated Manufacturing Operations
Integrated and connected technology brings coherence to the entire system, enhancing productivity; the core processes are analyzed and loopholes identified. Through a complete digital diagnosis, challenges are ironed out in the areas of plant transformations, asset productivity, resource planning, warehousing, order, and inventory management, to name a few. A holistic approach is mapped out to record end-to-end operation improvements, fallacies, and recoveries.
Operations are digitized to fundamentally rethink and innovate supply chain and productivity aspiring to accomplish business goals and revenue generation.
Industry 4.0 in Automotive Industry: Top Applications, Benefits, and Examples
Digital-Powered Asset Management
Due to a higher need for constantly monitoring and optimizing assets to reduce maintenance downtime, smart gears and wearable technologies, like augmented-reality glasses, help remotely assist with maintenance. Quality checks and maintenance could be done in real-time, even while the workers are on the move.
Automation in asset monitoring and process controls can boost the overall productivity with less human intervention. In addition, these technologies can help further optimize equipment and processes across the assembly lines, augmenting the system's overall efficiency reducing the cycle times and manpower while increasing the quality, energy, and throughput.
Intelligent Demand and Inventory Management 
Warehousing, demand gaps, and inventory management offer a wider scope for automation processes. Interventions happen through automated material storage and retrieval, the introduction of robotic processes, smart shelves, intelligent sorting, picking and packing, drones for inventory inspection, shuttle systems, and more.
Digital twins help in optimizing warehouse operations through duplication and prototyping of the existing structure, assisting warehouse workers, and using augmented reality tools to take and analyze multiple orders, vendor management, safety, and assurance in the system.
Plants of Tomorrow: Winning the Industry 4.0 Race – Are you ready?
Smart Manufacturing and Supply Chain
Supply chain is the web that knits together multiple operations starting with demand generation, logistics, procurement, production, marketing, and sales. Integrated planning and establishing smart manufacturing enables companies to manage trade-offs across functions and optimize their earnings exclusive of interest, depreciation, taxes for the company in its entirety.
Smart manufacturing brings in smart supply chain solutions. With the help of AI and process automation, organizations are equipped to tackle challenges and build an integrated approach that addresses all the restraining and encouraging forces to boost business functions across all verticals. Leveraging AI capabilities to analyze the massive amount of business data, decode relationships, identify operational gaps and enable better support for decision making proves to be impactful. Moreover, phase-wise implementation of these solutions will give the companies a competitive edge in the long run.
Digital-Powered Quality Control
Access data from multiple touchpoints and in various formats to clearly analyze the existing systems. Digitally empowered quality checks help build a dynamic and cost-effective user experience through various web applications.
Quality assurance and check is a driving force for the heavy machinery and cement manufacturers putting the entire organization on the roadmap to further growth. Not just producing the best-in-class products, but a comprehensive setup ensures the safety and fewer occupational hazards. Organizations implementing smart, digitally-powered quality control are faster to generate returns, grow investment and drive profits in both the short and long run. It brings reliability and assurance to the entire process. The value addition is reflected through the ultimate quality of goods and services and customer delight.
Along with the adoption of smart technologies and implementing intelligent process operations, companies need to work on their resilience to fight uncertainties like the unexpected pandemic wave that we just survived. Taking the initiative to build the 'plant of tomorrow' might be the next best move. The earlier we start, the stronger we grow. Incorporating even the slightest changes in today's operations might make a huge difference in the long run. Companies today can't afford to not invest in technological advancement, considering the rapid changes in the environment.
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