Industry 4.0. The future is now

Written by | Innovation, Lista 1

Industry 4.0. The future is now

TheFabLab held an exhibition on the RS Components and Siemens stand at the Maker Faire in Rome, with Massimo Banzi present, highlighting the impact of new instruments introduced by the fourth industrial revolution into factories and many other workplaces.

In the here and now, we are witnessing a new industrial revolution centred on the Internet of Things, digital manufacturing, robotics and Cloud computing. A partnership with RS Components has given a foretaste of the Siemens IoT2020 gateway which can transform any project using Arduino hardware and software into an industrial one linked to the Siemens logic. At the exhibition, a small industrial production chain based on the Igus robot arm was set up and presented to the press and public. The simulation of the environment and all its parts (grippers, guides, buttons etc.) was entirely reconstructed using TheFabLab 3D printers and laser cutters, in a fine example of how the factory of the future will personalise its production chains via digital manufacturing.

The workshop featured three different sensors (gas, light and presence). Linked to the IoT2020, they measured changes in ambient conditions. Every time an ambient value changed, the IoT2020 sent the data via the Internet to a database in the Cloud. At this point, another IoT2020, linked to the Igus robot, questioned the Cloud database and, if the values recorded differed from those set, sent input to activate robot actions that would return conditions to normal: turning on fans, switching on/off lights or even blocking the robot. None of the process is local; the robotic arm dialogues with the sensors and the IoT2020 via the Internet and the Cloud. The Internet, together with the robots, sensors and boards, can be connected to the Smartphones of the operators or production managers, generating a technological ecosystem that delivers a new way of working. This ecosystem can be called Industry 4.0.

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Last modified: 17 March 2017