A bit more than 10 years ago, many companies discussed whether the expenses for the Internet would ever pay off. Today, any company not using Internet technologies intensively, would be cut off from its customers and suppliers.
“The discussion about whether industry 4.0 makes sense is pointless. The integration of production with IT will happen faster than we all can imagine,” says Dr. Karl Tragl, chairman of the executive board at Bosch Rexroth AG. “That is why we have to explore the technological options step by step now, and to implement quickly what is useful.”
Tragl is sure that this evolutionary procedure will lead to revolutionary business models at a certain stage, as had been the case with the Internet around the turn of the millennium.
In 10 years, the world of production will be completely different because of that. Many of the technologies and workflows taken for granted today will only be memories. Here are five things that will most probably be history in 2025.
Smart machines will eliminate the need for fixed maintenance intervals.
Fixed maintenance intervals
Today, fixed maintenance intervals involve the preventive replacement of components — whether necessary or not. In 2025, machines and facilities will report their operating statuses and maintenance needs online at any given time.
3D holograms will replace the need for printed work instructions.
Printed work instructions
Printed work instructions have to be kept up-to-date in a tedious process. In 2025, 3D holograms will show what steps the worker has to perform on the current work piece. The instructions will take into consideration the language skills and expertise of the worker.
Operators and maintenance technicians will use a single, personalized input device to access any machine.
Variety of operating devices
Today, operators and maintenance technicians have to know different displays with different user interfaces. In 2025, they will use a single, personalized input device. It will grant them wireless access to any machines for which they are authorized.
Retrofitting of machines will be automated.
Today, the technical retrofitting for new products is a huge time and financial effort. In 2025, work pieces will be linked to their virtual image and inform the machines about which task is going to be needed. The automated retrofitting for that purpose will be carried out by software modules.
Intelligent machines will also monitor manual tasks and point out errors to workers.
Subsequent quality assessments
Quality assessments of finished components and elaborated rework is still quite common today. In 2025, intelligent modules and machines are going to assess and document the quality in process. They will also monitor the process during manual tasks, point out errors to workers and step in correctively.”