Industry 4.0: What Manufacturing Looks Like in the Digital Era
Connect with us

Sponsored

Industry 4.0: What Manufacturing Looks Like in the Digital Era

Published

on

The following content is sponsored by ASE Global

ASE Industry 4.0 Manufacturing in the Digital Era Main

Industry 4.0: What Manufacturing Looks Like in the Digital Era

It might sound futuristic, but the Fourth Industrial Revolution—also known as Industry 4.0—has already begun.

Following the Industrial Revolution’s steam power, electrification in the 1800s, and the Digital Revolution of the late 20th century, Industry 4.0’s innovative smart technology is unlocking the next steps in automation.

So what does the next major evolution of manufacturing look like? This graphic from ASE Global breaks down the rollout of Industry 4.0, from increased robotization to lights-out manufacturing.

The Basics of Industry 4.0

Each industrial revolution has built on what came before, incorporating new technologies and knowledge of manufacturing. Industry 4.0 has four core principles paving the way:

  1. Interconnection: Machines, devices, sensors, and people in the manufacturing process all connecting and communicating with each other.
  2. Information transparency: Comprehensive data and information being collected from all points in the manufacturing process, allowing for more informed decisions.
  3. Technical assistance: Improved technological facility of systems assisting humans in decision-making, problem-solving, and difficult or unsafe tasks.
  4. Decentralized decisions: Cyber physical systems that are able to make decisions on their own and perform tasks autonomously.

Combining these principles is what makes the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution unique. Much of the underlying technology has been available for decades, including robotics and networks, but properly using them together unlocks a massive stride in manufacturing capabilities.

Already, the market size for Industry 4.0 specific technology was estimated to be $116.1 billion in 2021. By 2028, it’s projected to grow almost three times to $337.1 billion, with core components leading the way.

Industry 4.0 TechnologiesComponents
Cyber physical systemsMachines (computer systems) controlled by algorithms.
Internet of things (IoT)Network of machines exchanging data.
On-demand availabilityComputer system resources that are able to be utilized at any time.
Cognitive computingSystems with artificial intelligence that adapt, iterate, and improve over time.

These technologies are already being rolled out in smart factories around the globe, and the most robust and up-to-date versions are being used to unlock the next evolution: lights-out manufacturing.

What is Lights-Out Manufacturing?

Where traditional factories and even smart factories require some direct human interaction, true lights-out factories operate completely autonomously.

Though it might sound like a dream, lights-out factories are fully automated, 24/7 factories with no on-floor human presence. And they already exist in the modern world.

Japanese robotics designer FANUC has been using robots to build themselves in a lights-out factory for 20 years, and even electronics company Philips uses 128 robots in a lights-out manufacturing line to produce electric razors.

One industry that uses lights-out manufacturing extensively is semiconductor manufacturing. ASE Global, the world’s leading provider of semiconductor manufacturing services in assembly and test, used 18 completely automated factories in 2020 alone.

Unlocking Lights-Out Factories

Different businesses and industries will be able to utilize Industry 4.0 technologies in different capacities, and lights-out manufacturing is no different.

Though incorporating fully autonomous factories can unlock huge potential, there are also significant challenges to first overcome.

Effects of Lights-Out FactoriesOpportunity UnlockedChallenge to Unlocking
CostSavings on material, inventory and management costs.Implementation requires purchasing machines, setting up the line, and working out early issues.
EfficiencyProducts can be made more quickly and accurately with trained machines.Significant changes to manufacturing (different products or setup) need to be made by humans.
ScaleOperations can continue uninterrupted for days or even weeks at a time.Full utilization requires a large volume of products, usually interchangeable or modular.
StaffWorkers can be upskilled and better utilized outside of the factory floor, resulting in better wages and time management, and a safer working environment. Skilled workers are needed to implement the factory, and they need to be continuously trained to keep up-to-date with improving technology. 

Which industries will implement lights-out manufacturing? New robot installations in 2019 show that the automotive, electronics, and metal and machinery sectors are unsurprisingly leading the way in Industry 4.0 implementation.

The Industry 4.0 Snowball Rollout

As 4.0 technology improves and costs decrease, the implementation of lights-out capabilities is expected to surge.

A global survey of businesses for their 2025 production plans show that 17% are anticipating having completely lights-out manufacturing, while 79% of manufacturing will be human-driven but digitally-augmented to some degree.

And like other industrial revolutions before, the technological rollout quickly creates a snowball effect that speeds its growth:

  • Demand increases for cyber physical systems and smart machines.
  • The supply of smart-capable machines with semiconductors increases.
  • Bigger and more robust networks of machines are assembled.
  • Improved capabilities further increase demand.

Many industries are capable of benefiting from 5G, IoT, and more robust usage of data and machines in some way. The question of when your sector will see Industry 4.0 is either sooner than you think, or it has already begun.

Click for Comments

Sponsored

Visualizing America’s Electric Vehicle Future

The U.S. is accelerating its transition to electric vehicles but obtaining the minerals and metals required for EVs remains a challenge. In this infographic, we explore America’s transportation future.

Published

on

Visualizing_America's_Electric_Car_Future_Shareable

Visualizing America’s Electric Vehicle Future

The U.S. is accelerating its transition to electric vehicles (EV) to address climate change. However, obtaining the minerals and metals required for EV batteries remains a challenge.

In this infographic from Talon Metals and Li-Cycle, we explore the country’s strategy to have vehicles, batteries, and key parts be made in the United States.

Then, we look at how this strategy could be fueled by domestic mining and battery recycling.

The All-Electric America

Gasoline-powered cars are one of the biggest sources of carbon pollution driving the climate crisis. As a result, the Biden Administration has set a target for EVs to make up 50% of all new car sales in the U.S. by 2030. Today, fewer than 1% of the country’s 250 million vehicles are electric.

In November 2021, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, which includes:

  • Replacing the government’s 650,000 vehicle motor pool with EVs.
  • Electrifying 20% of the country’s 500,000 school buses.
  • Investing $7.5 billion to build out a network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers across the country.

The idea also has popular support. According to a poll, 55% of voters in the U.S. support requiring all new cars sold in their state to be electric starting in 2030.

However, rising EV sales are already driving demand for battery metals such as nickel, lithium, and copper, threatening to trigger a shortage of these key raw materials. So, does the U.S. have the raw materials needed to meet this rising demand?

Currently, the U.S. is import-dependent with large parts of the battery supply chain captured by China. Likewise, some essential metals for EVs are currently extracted from countries that have poor labor standards and high CO2 footprints.

Nickel in the Land of Opportunity

The Biden Administration’s 100-day review of critical supply chains recommended the government should prioritize investing in nickel processing capability.

Today, the only operating nickel mine in the U.S., the Eagle Mine in Michigan, ships its concentrates abroad for refining and is scheduled to close in 2025.

To fill the supply gap, Talon Metals is developing the Tamarack Nickel Project in Minnesota, the only high-grade development-stage nickel mine in the country. Tesla has recently signed an agreement to purchase 75,000 metric tonnes of nickel in concentrate from Tamarack.

Since the development and construction of a mine can take many years, recycling is considered an essential source of raw material for EVs.

The Role of Battery Recycling

Battery recycling could meet up to 30% of nickel and 80% of cobalt usage in electric vehicles by the end of the decade.

The bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill already sets aside $6 billion for developing battery materials processing capacity in the United States.

By 2030, the U.S. alone is projected to have more than 218,000 tonnes of EV battery manufacturing scrap and 313,000 tonnes of end-of-life EV batteries per year, presenting a massive opportunity for recycling. Currently, Li-Cycle, a leading lithium-ion battery recycler in North America, can process up to 10,000 tonnes of battery material per year—and this capacity is set to grow to up to 30,000 tonnes by the end of 2022.

Li-Cycle also has a hydrometallurgy refinement hub under construction in Rochester, New York, which will process up to the equivalent of 225,000 EV batteries annually into battery-grade lithium, nickel, and cobalt when it is operational in 2023.

America’s Electric Vehicle Future

The auto industry’s future “is electric, and there’s no turning back,” according to President Biden. It’s expected that EV sales in the U.S. will grow from around 500,000 vehicles in 2021 to over 4 million in 2030.

With rising government support and consumers embracing electric vehicles, securing the supply of the materials necessary for the EV revolution will remain a top priority for the country.

Continue Reading

Sponsored

Retirement Spending: How Much Do Americans Plan to Spend Annually?

Retirement expenses can vary significantly from person to person. In this graphic, we show the range of expected retirement spending.

Published

on

Retirement Spending

Americans’ Expected Annual Retirement Spending

Planning for retirement can be a daunting task. How much money will you need? What will your retirement spending look like?

It varies from person to person, based on factors like your health, outstanding expenses, and desired lifestyle. One helpful trick is to break it down into how much you estimate you’ll spend each year.

In this graphic from Personal Capital, we show the expected annual retirement spending of Americans. It’s the last in a three-part series that explores Americans’ spending and savings.

The Range of Retirement Spending

To determine how much people expect to spend, we used anonymized data from users of Personal Capital’s retirement planning tool. It’s worth noting that these users are proactive regarding financial planning. They also have a median net worth of $829,000 compared to the $122,000 median net worth of the U.S. population overall.

Here is the range of expected annual retirement spending.

Expected Annual Retirement SpendingPercent of People
$10K1.3%
$20K3.3%
$30K7.5%
$40K9.8%
$50K5.2%
$60K12.7%
$70K10.2%
$80K6.4%
$90K9.1%
$100K5.4%
$110K1.5%
$120K9.7%
$130K1.5%
$140K2.8%
$150K2.2%
$160K0.9%
$170K0.4%
$180K2.7%
$190K0.7%
$200K0.8%
$210K0.5%
$220K0.2%
$230K0.1%
$240K1.6%
$250K0.3%
$260K0.2%
$270K0.1%
$280K0.1%
$290K0.1%
$300K0.7%
Over $300K2.1%

Users are a mix of single individuals and people in a relationship. In all cases, expected retirement spending is what the household expects to spend annually.

The most commonly-cited expected spending amount is $60,000. Interestingly, this is roughly in line with what Americans spend annually on their credit cards. This suggests that people may be using their current bills to help gauge their future retirement spending.

Median spending, or the middle value when spending is ordered from lowest to highest, falls at $70,000. However, average spending is a fair amount higher at $100,000. This is because the average is calculated by adding up all the expected retirement spending amounts and dividing by the total number of users. Higher expected spending amounts, some in excess of $300,000 per year, skew the average calculation upwards.

Of course, given their higher net worth, it’s perhaps not surprising that many Personal Capital users expect to spend larger amounts in retirement. How does this compare to the general population? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans age 65 and older spend about $48,000 per year on average.

Chances of Retirement Success

Once you’ve determined how much you’ll spend in retirement, your next step may be to wonder if your savings are on track. Based on an assessment of Personal Capital retirement planner users, here is the breakdown of people’s chance of success.

Retirement Spending Chance of Success

The good news: more than half of people have an 80% or better chance of meeting their retirement spending goals. This means they have sufficient financial assets and are contributing enough, regularly enough, to meet their expected spending amount. The not so good news: one in five people has a less than 50% chance of meeting their goals.

This problem is even more troublesome in the overall U.S. population. Only 50% of people have a retirement account, and the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College estimates half of today’s workers are unprepared for retirement.

Setting Your Own Retirement Spending Goals

While seeing the goals of others is a starting point, your annual retirement spending will be very specific to you. Not sure where to start?

Financial planners typically recommend that you should plan on needing 70-80% of your pre-retirement income in retirement. This is because people generally no longer have certain expenses, such as commuting or childcare costs, when they retire. However, keep in mind your expenses could be higher if you still have a mortgage, encounter unforeseen medical expenses, or want to splurge on things like travel when you retire.

It requires some upfront planning, but being realistic about your retirement spending can give you confidence in your financial future.

Continue Reading

Subscribe

Popular