From Train The Trainers Activity

Fourth Industrial Revolution is an opportunity for companies to strategically incorporate disruptive technologies into their business, eventually leading to re-think about the logic of creating value. To better understand it we will deal with different concepts.

 

The first one is the concept of Industry 4.0 that resembles the willingness to join together two realities that are production and network connectivity. Technologies embedded in production systems will integrate physical objects and human labour across the supply chain, which will become more agile and reactive to changes. In this scenario the Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) enable the connection between virtual and real world. They are one of the Key Enabling Technology (KET) of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Moreover, they can be objects – either finished products or machinery – that are composed by a physical and a virtual part. The physical component is equipped with sensors or actuators that allow the CPS to interact with and control it; whereas, the virtual component represents a digital copy of the physical object. The adoption of many CPS constitutes a network of Cyber-Physical Production Systems (CPPS), which expands the focus from one single object to an ecosystem of objects, which are linked and communicate with each other in real-time. Cyber-Physical Production Systems are the assumption to enable an intelligent factory. Another of the characterizing elements of Industry 4.0 are some IoT’s sensors named digital twin that represents the digital version of a physical entity in real time, virtually miming its behavior. This software provides a complete framework to gather all product or process data, tracking current and future capabilities and sensing performance deficiencies by simulating different scenarios. The digital thread supports the free-flowing stream of communication framework that allows connected data to flow through all the functions with which a product interacts. A digital thread therefore allows digitization and traceability of a product’s history.

 

The second one is the concept of technological paradigms that are tools or topics that help the development of the Industry 4.0, here below some example:

– Digital Manufacturing: defined as a set of digital technologies applied to the realization of goods or services. The Digital Manufacturing paradigm can be split into two main areas: Digital technologies like Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machines, laser cutters etc.; and Additive manufacturing (3D printing).

– Autonomous and collaborative robots: that can be divided in “non-smart” and “smart”. On the one hand the “non-smart” autonomous robots are generally programmed to perform a repetitive operation carrying out a sequence of fixed movements chosen from pre-set programs, on the other the “Smart” collaborative robots make a combined use of sensors and Artificial Intelligence to give variable and context-appropriate answers following different environmental conditions or objectives.

– Augmented reality: that brings digital components into a person’s perception of the real world, by integrating multiple sensory modalities (visual, auditory, etc.) with computer-based elements. The three characteristics of augmented reality are: Combination of real and virtual world, alignment with 3D modelling and real-time interaction with humans. Finally, virtual reality creates a completely virtual world, isolating from the real one.

– Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): that integrates Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) with the manufacturing system, connecting devices of different nature by embedding sensors to them in order to communicate with each other and with a centralized unit of control.

– Cloud computing: that is a way to have direct access to shared resources without having to directly manage them. This allows automated self- provisioning of data, which are available on demand in real-time and anywhere. The cloud is a virtualized infrastructure offered as-a-service for using Internet services (servers, storage, and processing resources) ensuring complete security. This paradigm allows to store and process in a central hub the quantity of data produced by the company and gathered from external sources.

– The paradigm of simulation: that uses a software to make a virtual copy of a physical object, in order to understand its behavior, predict its performance and eventually compare alternatives and choose the best one. Simulation does not require physical employment of resources, rather it diminishes waste, time and effort by providing a secure and faster method to optimize manufacturing processes.

– Data-driven decisions: that involve collection and analysis of large amounts of data. It is a process aimed at transforming intangible resources in tangible value for the company itself. Data-driven decision process has mainly three stages: observation and data collection (facts, images, sounds, etc.) in terms of volume, speed and variety; processing (formatting, filtering, synthesis) and contextualization of the data collected to generate information; application of information to generate knowledge (ideas, rules, procedures) that guides decisions and actions.

– Trusted data management: that can avoid potential issues, thus minimizing negative consequences

on the value chain system. Building a trusted data infrastructure is fundamental to enhance security and trustworthiness of computing platforms. Cybersecurity system guarantees protection of hardware and software potential damage and data breaches.

– Horizontal and Vertical integration: the first one refers to the coordinated management of the production chain, which involves the integration of different agents such as business partners and customers, business and cooperation models. The second one is the coordinated management of the product life cycle, concerning intelligent production systems and intelligent products, smart logistics networking, production, marketing and services.

 

All these practices have a direct impact on the Business Model of the considered companies that shit itself from a traditional to a Business Model 4.0.