Beyond Industrial Automation: The Role of Automation in the Evolution from Industry 4.0 to 5.0

How does industrial automation assist and enhance digital transformation in the industry?

10/10/2023 – By Guilherme Souza, Industry Solutions Specialist at Vetta

Let's consider the simple industrial process of filling a water tank from the field to the PLC in a cycle: Sensors. Wires. A panel. Signal reading cards. A PLC. The logic interprets the sensor signal and makes a decision: the activation of a valve.

This repetitive cycle has been the reality of many industrial machines and manufacturing lines for decades, and it's astonishing that before this, everything was manual. This automation brought numerous advantages: precision, optimization of machine operation, waste reduction, and cost savings, among others. From then on, the term automation became directly associated with the idea of a device "operating on its own," a legacy of Industry 3.0.

With the advent of Industry 4.0 and digital transformation, automation gained more contexts: we talk about process automation, residential automation, customer service automation, sales automation, and more. Now, not just a "device," but processes, payments, your schedule, and even phone calls can be automated.

But is this the limit of automation?

Industry 5.0 says no. Created in 2016 in Japan, Industry 5.0 brings a similar word but with a parallel meaning to automation: AUTOMATION. Industry 5.0 proposes a futuristic vision of Toyoda's Jidoka, advocating that the machine should also be capable of autonomous decision-making in a high degree of complexity. This takes into account not only its current situation but also the situation of the previous machine, the next one, the production line, the factory, consumption, the monthly production demand received from production planning, market trends, the time of year versus production forecasting, and more.

When we combine this concept with automation, we go through the use of cutting-edge technologies for autonomous decision-making based on data, such as machine learning and deep learning. By the way, Harvard Business Review states that 40% of all the potential value that can be generated by data analysis currently comes from deep learning techniques. It is estimated that this potential value could represent between 3.5 and 5.8 trillion dollars annually.

The future of industrial automation is not a replacement but rather a technological revolution. Industrial automation is moving toward significantly assisting digital transformation in the industry, incorporating more and more technology. In the era of IoT/IIoT, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI), which require computational capacity for data collection, processing, and decision-making, we already find industrial communication protocols of Unified Architecture aimed at interoperability, dedicated systems for data collection, storage, and transmission in the industry, PLCs and HMIs with embedded operating systems and computational capacity, industrial computers developed to work within the automation panel, intelligent sensors with wireless connectivity, industrial 5G, among other technologies developed to bring computing power down to the factory floor (edge computing).

So, how can you prepare for this revolution?

Should you get rid of your old infrastructure? Does this mean reserving a large capital for upgrades/retrofits? Not necessarily. Transform data into value, enhance your decision-making with our expertise in Industrial Automation and Artificial Intelligence, and bring Automation to your industrial processes. Contact us to discover how we can assist and optimize your industrial operations.


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