The Industry 4.0 revolution impacts many areas of our world and marches businesses and industries forward. Research by McKinsey found that during the pandemic, 94% of businesses harnessing Industry 4.0 solutions rely on these technology advancements to keep their operations going.
But for the next stage of industrial technology to reach its full potential, specific connectivity needs must be met. Connectivity is the base layer upon which every smart manufacturing solution is built. Here are the market demands to consider and the connectivity means enabling them.
Industry 4.0 Capabilities and Connectivity Needs
Asset tracking and monitoring: Connected production floors allow companies to monitor equipment and machinery, tracking their location and status at any given moment. Monitoring equipment and transportation fleets in real-time saves a lot of trouble and costs for companies. Industrial businesses leverage these technologies to prevent asset failure and improve performance, making asset tracking the fastest growing industrial IoT field, expected to cover most connected devices within the next decade. Continuous data connectivity is essential for companies to benefit from this technology, as it forms the base for location-aware assets.
Supply chain optimization: If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past couple of years, it’s the importance of a well-managed supply chain. Smart manufacturing companies operate remote sites and multiple vendors that must all work seamlessly together. Data connectivity provides transparency and visibility across all links, offering valuable information in real-time. A stable, resilient and redundant network with low latency is required to ensure continuous connectivity and real-time transparency. This allows players to plan accordingly and prepare for any changes, forming a new and innovative supply network that is more resilient and responsive.
Visibility: Visibility is critical to Industry 4.0 success because it enables the communication between different teams and locations, remote management, data collection and analysis, predictive maintenance, and more. Companies need complete and accurate real-time visibility of their machine performance to make quick adjustments that save time and money. Flexible, reliable, and secure connectivity with low latency is a critical component to visibility in smart manufacturing. It gives industrial companies the confidence of knowing that the data they receive is updated and correct.
Predictive maintenance: One of the most revolutionary advantages of Industry 4.0 is the ability to spot issues before they occur and attend to machines’ performance ahead of time, based on data. Robust connectivity is the superpower that removes obstacles standing in manufacturers’ way towards smart maintenance. Without preventive maintenance, companies find themselves constantly putting out fires, wasting employees’ precious time on machinery monitoring, and suffering the consequences and costs of every second it takes to fix these issues.
Inventory management: From alerts regarding materials that are about to expire to managing warehouses, production cycles, and automated orders — inventories are smarter and more efficient when they are connected. With a strong connectivity solution in place, factories are able to manage not only permanent tools and machinery, but also every material used in the manufacturing process. For some industries using extremely expensive materials, these smart capabilities can save significant amounts.
Energy management: Connectivity helps us build better factories that operate in a more considerate society. Efficient energy management is one example of an advantage that’s good for both businesses and the planet. Companies can decrease costs while meeting environmental standards using real-time connected energy consumption management. This sustainable approach is valuable in markets where sustainability standards are a must and allows companies to turn their minimized environmental footprint into a business advantage.
How it Works
A leading machine health solution provider approached us with an Industry 4.0 connectivity challenge spanning over 15 countries. The company’s data connectivity solution wasn’t scalable or manageable, causing severe delays. Originally, they wanted to connect machines via a LAN network but quickly realized that many remote or hard-to-reach deployments require cellular connectivity. Some locations also demanded a local connectivity provider, resulting in multiple contracts and complex pricing models. A centralized connectivity provider was needed, one that can deliver stable, high bandwidth connectivity with low latency.
Webbing provided the company with a streamlined, centralized, and scalable solution that allows the business to deploy, monitor, and optimize the data usage. Backup profiles and multiple networks added another reliability and security layer for continuous connection across devices and locations. The solution was stable and trustworthy thanks to local breakouts, multiple networks, and data server redundancy. Each one of the above-mentioned advantages became possible, opening many doors for the company and its clients.
Webbing offers connectivity solutions that are perfect for the Industry 4.0 era. Our technology supports any cellular network provider easily and remotely, eliminating provider lock-in or complex integration procedures. These solutions are device-agnostic, cost-effective, secure, and future-ready. Companies looking to embrace or improve Industry 4.0 capabilities should start by optimizing their connectivity layer, taking the first step today and contacting Webbing’s connectivity experts.