Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing

Manufacturing and industrial business operations are being transformed through the convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) systems onto shared, intelligent, industrial-optimized compute platforms. This consolidation creates a responsive, interconnected system that eliminates data silos and provides access to deeper insights—powered by edge computing—and more flexibility and control.

With more intelligence at the edge—enabled by edge compute, artificial intelligence, and workload convergence—manufacturers can capture, process, and store more data from edge devices. That data can be analyzed closer to where it is collected and used, and manufacturers can make adjustments to operational systems in near-real time.

Intelligent edge systems are the backbone of Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing. They enable data and information from multiple sensors, applications, and processes to be analyzed closer to the source, which helps reduce downtime, optimize operations, automate processes, and inform new solutions. Software-defined infrastructures enable near-real-time analytics across the supply chain to further advance efficiency, productivity, and data visibility.

As your Industry 4.0 partner, Intel can help you accelerate time to value for data-driven, interoperable Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions. With our ecosystem of innovators and portfolio of flexible solutions, we can help you develop and integrate intelligent industrial edge solutions capable of reducing costs, increasing profits, and moving you ahead of the competition.

Our hardware portfolio spans the range of solutions that factories need, and our technology for IoT spans edge, network, and cloud to deliver agile, intelligent IoT infrastructures. From low-power compute that can bring artificial intelligence (AI) to new places to edge servers capable of analytics tasks such as demand forecasting, Intel can help you deploy smart factory solutions capable of realizing new levels of productivity while revealing new opportunities to maximize revenue.

What Is Industry 4.0 and How Is the Intelligent Edge Driving It?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution—or Industry 4.0—brings the digital and physical together through data. By advancing data capture and analysis at the edge, Industry 4.0 paves the path for autonomous smart manufacturing advancements, such as predictive maintenance to reduce downtime and smart asset tracking for a more efficient supply chain, among other solutions.

With more compute power at the edge, businesses can connect the unconnected, converge and virtualize key workloads, and lay the groundwork to integrate the latest IoT in manufacturing use cases.

In order to bring intelligence to more machines and devices, Industry 4.0 is being enabled by open architectures; standards-based solutions; edge, network, and cloud technology; and other advances. These technologies are allowing businesses to bring the advantages of IT to OT.

Now it’s simpler than ever to create flexible, easy-to-update software-defined infrastructures to manage and optimize machine controls in discrete manufacturing and process manufacturing. With the advent of 5G and lower barriers to implementing AI, factories of all sizes and all levels of digitalization can embrace what Industry 4.0 has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Industry 4.0 brings digital and physical technologies together to create responsive, interconnected operations. Enabled by the convergence of operational and IT systems on shared, highly industrial‒optimized compute platforms, businesses can analyze data across the supply chain and adjust operational systems in near-real time to reduce costs, cut waste, predict problems, and innovate offerings.

Smart manufacturing integrates data and information from multiple applications, processes, and products that can be composed to form new solutions. It enables predictive and adaptive manufacturing and supply chain processes that allow businesses to fulfill requests for customized products more effectively and to respond more quickly to fluctuations in markets through demand forecasting.

Process manufacturing involves combining ingredients and raw materials using a recipe or formula. This approach is frequently employed in industries that produce goods in bulk, such as food and beverages, oil refining, pharmaceuticals, and plastics. Discrete manufacturing is focused on the final assembly of market-ready units such as automobiles and appliances.

With smart factory technologies like predictive maintenance, both process manufacturing and discrete manufacturing can become more efficient by reduced downtime and improved production.

Sustainable manufacturing is a holistic approach to production that involves the application of Industry 4.0 and digital manufacturing technologies to minimize pollution, conserve energy and natural resources, protect the safety of workers, and equitably reward all those involved in the production. It requires capturing and analyzing data throughout the entire supply chain and manufacturing process as well as energy and waste management.

The intelligent edge is the fusion of intelligent and scalable compute performance and AI for industrial operational workloads. It enables solutions such as factory digital twins and manufacturing execution systems (MES). This fusion is enabled by workload convergence and optimization of software infrastructures for edge compute platforms.

Intelligent edge platforms offer a host of benefits, including cost reduction, improved security, heightened productivity, and improved real-time performance. The intelligent edge allows manufacturers to run multiple workloads in standard equipment—eliminating the need to move large volumes of data from on-premises to the cloud. It also enables comprehensive quality management through near-real-time product defect detection, process and supply chain optimization, and an increase in asset utilization. Entirely new business models can also be enabled simply by adding new workloads.

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2Source: Intel ADLINK testing data.