June 24th 2020
Under the influence of Industry 4.0 and IoT, businesses are ready to switch to smart factories. The uniqueness of the moment lies in the fact that any developing and developed state is able to create a powerful foundation for sustainable development in the future. The smart factory is the element of the Factory of the Future paradigm, which in fact is a brick in building the innovative economy of the future, and mechanical engineering, by virtue of its innovative nature.
What is Industry 4.0?
How do Smart Factories Change the Face of Production?
The main difference between the factories of the future and today’s industrial enterprises is the approach to the production process. At a smart factory, most of the time-consuming work is entrusted to AI while human participation is minimized. These factories use 3D printers, generative design, and IoT technology. Due to this, the quality of goods is significantly improved and the production time of high-tech products is reduced.
So, factories of the future represent an approach based on the idea of maximum digitalization of production with minimal use of human resources to produce smart products.
Note: a perfect example of a smart factory would be a facility that uses renewable energy. For instance, the source of such clean energy could be solar panels installed on the roof of the plant. They would generate the electricity necessary for operation and production. Thanks to the use of solar energy, such a smart factory would reduce its carbon footprint, reducing annual CO2 emissions by tens to thousands of tons.
Sustainable Development and Production Waste Management
- the consumption of natural resources should not exceed the capacity for ecosystem productivity and regeneration;
- volumes of emissions, discharges and non-utilizable wastes disposed of in the environment must not exceed its assimilation capabilities;
- use of non-renewable resources is possible in volumes that are offset by the reproduction and increase in consumption of renewable resources, replacing non-renewable;
- development should exclude adverse environmental consequences for present and future generations.
Is Zero-Waste Production Possible?
Developed countries are introducing elements of sustainable development in parallel, which is difficult from a technical point of view. On the one hand, every year it is necessary to increase the high volume of production, on the other – it is necessary to develop clean production.
Still, if we want fast results, all manufacturing giants in the world should act now: implement the already existing opportunities fro clean production and keep their development in this direction.
Today, when the planet’s resources are gradually being depleted, and the accumulated reserves of waste are huge, it is necessary to change the current worldview and the negative attitude to waste as garbage.
- to minimize and prevent the generation of waste (complete use of raw materials, development of low-waste and so-called non-waste industries, the introduction of energy and resource-saving technologies;
- the use of waste as a resource base (extraction of secondary materials from waste with their return to production (in particular, the development of various recycling technologies).
The development of the Internet, IT technologies, sustainable communication channels, cloud technologies, and digital platforms, as well as the multiply increased amount of information generated from various sources, have led to the emergence of open information systems and global industrial networks.
This, in turn, had a transformative effect on all sectors of the modern economy and business outside the IT sector itself and contributed to the transfer of industrial automation to the new 4th stage of industrialization. The mission of this stage is to implement the Industry 4.0 program.
The only thing left for us to do is to implement these technologies correctly and move further to a sustainable future!