There are waves of change hitting the manufacturing industry.
They’re calling this revolution Industry 4.0.
Soon I’ll be sharing what you should know about this shift, and how to capitalize on startups leading the way.
Speaking of startups “leading the way”––
Investing is about timing and being able to identify major shifts in technology, society, and people.
Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing industry and manufacturing by bringing the internet of things (IoT) –– think Alexa, FitBit, and Smart TVs –– to the assembly line and beyond.
Understanding this rapidly growing sector and identifying the Startups on the forefront of its expansion is key for today’s investors.
Manufacturing is transforming as we speak. Several special technologies have converged, leading to the dawn of Industry 4.0.
Industry 4.0 is essentially the fourth industrial revolution. Centered around the idea of “smart manufacturing”, it uses cyber-physical systems to monitor the processes of a factory.
Machines are being connected through the Internet of Things (IoT). Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are guiding production decisions.
Put simply, our factories now have the tools to manage and diagnose themselves.
Industry 4.0 is something investors just need to have on their radars.
This is a brief overview of the space — how it works, what you should know, and the innovative startups that make it all possible.
Businesses Need to Adapt or Lag Behind
Existing businesses will need to adopt Industry 4.0 technology to stay competitive. This is especially true in areas like manufacturing and shipping.
The businesses that adopt and leverage new technologies will have a better chance at growth and survival than those that wait.
This is an integral part of Digital Transformation. Imagine factories ignoring the assembly line or refusing to use computers. Factories that don’t collect and use data, automate tasks, and self-monitor would be just as misguided. On top of this, new manufacturing businesses will use Industry 4.0 principles and technology from day one. Meanwhile, big businesses are already investing millions into these technologies to stay ahead of the game.
Innovative Industry 4.0 Startups
Of all of the Industry 4.0 startups out there, these are some of the most interesting. Each of them offers business tools that unlock existing systems.
What’s special about each of them, is that they don’t require new infrastructure, they just plug into and improve existing systems. This means they are accessible and can be quickly integrated.
Cloud Computing is an essential part of Industry 4.0. It is needed to deal with the large amounts of data needed to automate production processes.
Waylay is a Cloud Computing startup based out of Belgium. The goal of Waylay is to take existing IoT (Internet of Things) data and put it to operational use.
The service can be utilized in solution packages, including Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Services, and Software as a Service.
Put simply, this startup is a decision-making platform for your data. The company describes itself as the “ultimate rules engine for IoT”.
Next up, we have Augury, working with Big Data and Predictive Analytics.
Predictive analytics is mainly used to predict when something will go wrong. For example, a smart factory could use data and analytics to alert managers that a specific part of a machine is likely to fail in the next week.
The prediction leads to a prescription of what to do to solve the problem and when to do it. When used across the entire system in an assembly line, this becomes incredibly powerful. With predictive analytics, companies can reduce downtime and increase output.
Augury is one of the first to bring this technology to market. So far, they have earned $59 million in funding.
One issue with Industry 4.0 is cybersecurity. With greater connectivity and communication brought about by IoT comes more vulnerability to cyber attacks.
Additionally, because vital production functions and decisions are made automatically through Cloud Computing, a cyber attack is especially dangerous.
Sharewell helps businesses prevent data leaks and cyber-attacks. With proper tools, companies can take advantage of cloud technology without putting themselves at risk.
The startup claims that it provides a cost-effective solution for any company that wants to be cyber-secure — especially those that leverage Industry 4.0 technology.
Additive Manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is a key component of Industry 4.0.
Because 4.0 is all about smart manufacturing, something that can reshape the way products are made is of great interest. Companies are already investing heavily in additive manufacturing.
There are a variety of advantages to this type of manufacturing.
For example, with additive manufacturing, companies can prototype and iterate products rapidly. Low volume production means that special tools and molds don’t need to be made before the actual product can be tested. Finally, holding “virtual inventory” and printing it on demand can be more cost-effective than making physical inventory that will sit in warehouses and on shelves for months.
The startup, Additive Works, makes advanced programs to improve 3D printing. Essentially, this is a suite of virtual experiments that assess the viability of a 3D printed object.
This allows manufacturers to get things right the first time, saving money by redesigning, testing, and iterating in a virtual environment.