Industry 4.0 to mean new machines, more sensors and analytics, and fewer floor workers

The Industry 4.0 revolution will continue to gain pace,
with attitudes, impact and preparedness considered in a new McKinsey report.

Industry 4.0 – How to Navigate a Changing
Industrial Landscape
took into account the views of 300 respondents, and the impact of a
world being changed through the increasingly widespread connection of items through sensors, actuators and an Internet Protocol.

There would, however, be an emphasis on investing in
sensors and intelligence.

Fast Company reports that the research predicts 40 – 50 per cent of
current factory equipment will need to be replaced over the next decade. This
is, however, as lesser proportion than during the previous industrial
revolution (about 80 – 90 per cent).

(Industry 4.0 follows steam power, electricity, and
automation, though some perspectives can vary slightly on these steps.)

“A significant
amount of the value will come from upgrading existing systems to ensure
interconnectivity for data collection, analysis and executing commands, e.g.,
by retrofitting sensors or even without changing the hardware,” Product, Design & Development reports Hans-Werner Kaas, head of
the McKinsey Automotive & Assembly practice, as saying.

“[J]ust by adding
additional intelligence and interoperability in the software, assuming the
electronics hardware capabilities (processing power and speed, storage/memory
functionality) and actuation devices are sufficient or can be upgraded.” 

There would continue to be fewer people staffing
factory floors, according to the report, though there’d be a great demand for
those with data and analytics skills. There’d also be a need for improved cyber security.