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September 24, 2021

As a society and as marketers, we’ve moved into embracing a brave new world bursting with myriad emerging technologies so quickly that we don’t take the time to understand the interconnections.

Industry 4.0 advances traditional manufacturing with the connectivity and computing power of the digital world. The benefits are transformative as smart automation increases product quality and productivity. Say goodbye to downtime and the lost revenue that goes with it. Say hello to the productivity and efficiency of industry 4.0.

Downtime: friend to none, foe to all

Downtime is one of manufacturing’s most pressing challenges, negatively impacting revenue by 10 to 20 percent. A single minute of downtime can cost an automotive manufacturer $22,000, and the average cost of unplanned downtime for process industries, such as chemical and petrochemical, per year-- a staggering $20B.  

Downtime’s negative effects touch every corner of a business.

  • Greater stress on employees and machines
  • Production and delivery delays
  • Lower product quality and poor customer service
  • Disappointed customers
  • Damaged brand perception

And then there are the priceless losses—time and attention away from potential new business and missed opportunities to innovate and focus on new products.


Industry 4.0 virtually eliminates downtime through predictive maintenance


The advanced technologies of industry 4.0 automate the collection and analysis of machine data, enabling predictive maintenance that anticipates and corrects potential issues and failures before they occur. 

As an example, in milling machines, spindles have a tendency to break, leading to expensive repairs. But thanks to predictive maintenance, ultrasonic sensors collect data on each spindle, which is analyzed for any pattern that suggests a fragile spindle. From there, an alert flags the issue for scheduled maintenance.

Four benefits of the disappearance of downtime:

1.    Reduced costs and increased productivity

The disappearance of downtime will have an immediate impact on quality, cost and efficiency. Smart automation, as part of modern manufacturing, has the potential to reduce total machine downtime by 30 to 50 percent and reduce the cost of quality by up to 20 percent. Overall, automated solutions can increase productivity in technical professions by 40 to 55 percent.

2.    Increased profits, smarter investments and better workforce opportunities

Alleviating downtime can add the previously lost 10 to 20 percent of revenue back as profit.5 Companies can also reallocate investments in time and resources to other important growth areas, like product design and development, as well as new business.

A more self-governing factory is an investment in a company’s workforce, as well. Automation frees up employees for more value-add activities, while others can work alongside robots that perform tasks too difficult or dangerous for human beings to perform alone.

3.    Long-term protection through machine learning

Machine learning (ML) allows data gathered from machines to be processed constantly. This gives the machines self-awareness and intervention capabilities that ensure the long-term protection of machine health. ML algorithms can also predict remaining useful life (RUL) of machines.

4.    Predictable operations

Smart automation enhances big data analytics and insights through feedback sensors in robotic assembly, making operations far more predictable within the smart factory. Predictive algorithms can even automate machines responses to potential issues or the placement of work orders.


Get started with a trusted partner

A world without downtime means new levels of quality and efficiency that boost revenue, increase sustainability and ignite innovation for your business. The ability to predict will make your organization more agile in the face of market changes. A trusted partner can help you leverage modern manufacturing to automate your production and start reaping the benefits.

Learn more about how Flex is enabling smart automation and other industry 4.0 capabilities, like machine-to-machine learning and additive manufacturing. 

That means it connects machinery, products, people and systems so as to enable processes that are largely automated. Companies can produce goods more efficiently, flexibly and cheaply in a smart factory.

We are at the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution. Known as Industry 4.0, it is proving to be a turning point for the automotive industry. While most automotive facilities are in a phase of evolving seamless human–machine connectedness,


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Friday, 24 September 2021 13:05