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Safeguarding Industry 4.0 – One step ahead

2021-07-08
• 4 min read

Safety is all about being one step ahead, anticipating and preventing accidents before they occur, and Troax has been doing so since 1955. But what about the challenges of the future? How does Troax stay one step ahead to safeguard the digital transformation of Industry 4.0?

Steam engine_Photo by Giuseppe Ruco on Unsplash

Industry 4.0 – The fourth industrial revolution

Before getting into the fourth industrial revolution, let us remember the first three, all stemming from technical innovations in the past, starting with the steam engine in the 18th century which for the first time enabled mechanized production.

Electricity was the lighting switch for the second industrial revolution in the 19th century, which together with other scientific innovations laid the foundation for mass production.

The third industrial revolution saw its beginning in the 1950s when computers and digital technology provided new opportunities for automated production.

The concept of the fourth industrial revolution was first mentioned by Angela Merkel at the Hannover Messe in 2012. The idea was to manage the challenges from low-wage countries by creating competitive advantages through automation and digital solutions for the European manufacturing industry. Since then, Industry 4.0 has become the beacon for the manufacturing industry worldwide. 

Photo by Austrian National Library on Unsplash

Smart factories – endless possibilities

Industry 4.0 is not about one single technology; it is all about implementing many different technologies and innovations in parallel with organizational change.

Smart factories hold connected machines that communicate with each other by exchanging and interpreting shared data. By using blockchain technology, traceability is increased in a secure, decentralized, and transparent way of transferring data, without third-party solutions.

Machine monitoring enhances machine uptime, therefore increasing cost-effectiveness. Digital twins allow you to evolve manufacturing with new parameters before making an actual change to the physical production site, consequently avoiding expensive standstills.

Photo by Lenny Kuhne on Unsplash

Industrial robot automation improves efficiency, safety, and quality with consistent speed and allows employees to excel in more complex and fulfilling roles. 

The ultimate goal to achieve, through Industry 4.0, is manufacturing with greater flexibility and shorter lead time, increasing profit and cost efficiency, which in turn provides increased competitiveness. This does not apply exclusively to manufacturing. Warehousing, logistics, and supply chain are also greatly affected by the fourth industrial revolution.

 For instance, Industry 4.0 can be fully integrated in your automated warehouse.

By using wireless sensors and computers vast amounts of data can be collected, all whilst artificial intelligence (AI) assists in analyzing your processes for further improvements. Stock levels can be assessed more accurately, hence provide data with instructions to autonomous platforms.

Smart safety

Regardless of the benefits of Industry 4.0, none of them are even worth a nickel without industrial safety.  As wisely put by Thomas Helpenstein, certified Functional Safety Engineer by TÜV Rheinland:

“Industrial safety gets a bad rap as being a
detriment to productivity. But what if you could
use safety to better understand and improve
the performance of your operations?”

Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

Just like smart manufacturing, smart safety can help you monitor and manage your safety performance with seamless connectivity and real-time analytics, thereby identifying and resolving common machine-stoppage problems, with the ability to predict production issues before they happen, and consequently boost productivity.

Utilizing the data in Industry 4.0

This is where you really get into the ballgame with Troax, experts on protecting people, processes, and property.

Viktor Göhlin, part of the business development team at Troax, is familiar with the preconception that machine guarding, and safety solutions might get in the way of an effective workflow in the factory.

The truth however is quite the contrary.

What appears to be blocking the way
can actually guide the way in the connected
and automated factory and warehouse. 

What if, Viktor suggests, we could use the increase of big data, supplied by connected machines, AI, and blockchain technology, to better understand accidents and prevent risks.

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

What if this smart technology could help us turn what once was the way, into something that guides us in a safer, yet more productive future. Based on data from machines, processes, and human movement, the physical safety fence can be installed in such a way, that it does not only protect, Viktor states but also forces operators to move along the most time-efficient paths throughout the production facility.

Viktor continues: “Troax will come up with new products for sure. We will find more advanced and smart solutions, and this in turn will lead to safer workplaces. But the major change in adapting to Industry 4.0 will be how we use what we already have in a more efficient way."

"When we are able to use all
the data and integrate it with machine
guarding in a productive way,
we will also see an increase in efficiency."

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Gabriella Mellergårdh, Journalist
Gabriella Mellergårdh
Freelance Journalist
Viktor Göhlin, Business Developer - Support
Viktor Göhlin
Business Developer