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Engineering 4.0

Engineering 4.0, a look into the future of engineering

Digital transformation is a phenomenon that affects companies in any industry or field. For this reason, the industry must evolve with it. In recent years, there has been talk of a new industrial revolution, but the question is: do you really know what Engineering 4.0 is? In this article, we will give a definition of Engineering 4.0, discuss this concept, review the technologies linked to this new industrial revolution and the trends that are crossing the secondary sector. We begin!

The starting point is to know the definition of Engineering 4.0. or Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to the transformation of industry and production systems through the introduction of new technologies.

If the previous industrial revolution was based on the integration of robots and process automation, Engineering 4.0 wants to go further as it aims at creating create intelligent factories, which can adapt more easily to the needs and processes of production.

Until now, industrial processes required enormous planning, in addition to considerable delays or losses if production had to be stopped in the event of a failure. With Engineering 4.0, technology makes it possible to be faster. For example, with the use of sensors in machines, they can prevent a fault. This way, a solution can be found more quickly, avoiding slowing down production and downtime.

Technologies for Engineering 4.0

After having seen what Engineering 4.0 consisted of through its definition, we will see which technologies enable it

Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things is the term used to refer to the connection of devices to the Internet, in addition to having the possibility of communicating with each other as well.

Through sensors in the machines, or through the use of robots and autonomous machines, a constant flow of information is created, which helps to adjust production, prevent possible faults or detect stages where production can improve. 

Cyber-physical systems

Basically, cyber-physical systems (CPS) are devices controlled by calculations and algorithms. These devices are monitored by computers that control physical processes.

However, the key is in feedback, since the system interprets actions, tracks results and automatically learns to improve performance through it. A case in point would be autonomous vehicles which are a home automation system or the monitoring of infrastructure and roads.

For instance, autonomous vehicles, a home automation system or the monitoring of infrastructure and roads, are some examples of this type of system.

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing enables IT services to be obtained through the cloud. This way, the company will only pay for the resources it uses when it needs them. As explained in our definition of Engineering 4.0, Engineering 4.0 optimizes work processes intelligently, just like in this example.

In general, a company can employ an Infrastructure IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), a PaaS (Platform as a Service) or a SaaS (Software as a Service). In this way, we can recruit services like virtual data storage, for management software like ERP or cloud security, among others.

Trend in Engineering 4.0 in 2020

Since we know that technologies make Engineering 4.0 possible, let's take a look at this year's trends.

Augmented and mixed reality

The use of smart glasses with augmented reality and mixed reality technology in factories will improve the design, development and handling of machines.

Digital twin

The digital twin is the virtual reproduction of parts and machines, so that we can simulate its operation. In this way, we can study the performance of real machines in a precise moment, or realize a predictive conservation of a specific machine, since it helps to prevent possible failures.

The vision of Engineering 4.0 is just around the corner for some businesses, while the journey is longer for others. Eventually, regardless of where the business is based, you can catch up with the technology and attitude associated with it.