Efficient Plant January 2020 - 23

department | on the floor

analyzes the incoming and historical data and generates the needed
work orders. The latest buzzword is cyber-physical system (CPS),
defined as a mechanism that is controlled by computer-based algorithms and integrated with the internet by its users.
Many years ago there were efforts to establish "lights-out" automotive and warehouse factories in the U.S. and Europe, but they were
not ready for prime time. Today's equivalent is typically called a smart
factory, but the capabilities are much higher than the lights-out version.
The term "Industrie 4.0" was introduced in 2012 at the Hannover
Fair in Germany by Siegfried Russwurm, member of the executive
committee and CEO of Siemens' Industry group. Later, Work 4.0
(Arbeit 4.0 in German) was introduced, which discusses the future of
work (how it may change until 2030) as related to Industry 4.0. Manufacturing 4.0 is simply specific to disruptive/innovative technologies
related to production such as highly intelligent robots, the Internet of
Things (IoT), 3D printing, sensors, real-time data, wireless applications,
mobility, machine learning, and other data analytics.
It's an exciting time for engineers and trades/technicians who are
willing to expand their knowledge. Some have expressed concern over
the potential loss of jobs as this approaches, but there will be many
jobs still available, simply different. Also, when I state engineer, I am
referring to engineers and trade/technician professionals. You will need
jobs such as Data Analytics Engineer, Autonomous Transportation
Engineer, Autonomous Farming Engineer, Manufacturing/Industry
4.0 Engineer, Quantum Computing Engineer, Human Technology/Machine Integration Engineer, 3D/4D Printing/Additive Manufacturing
Engineer, Augmented Reality/Artificial Intelligence Implementation
Engineer, Biomedical Wearables Engineer, High-Speed Transportation
Engineer, Data Mining Medical Engineer, Industry 4.0 Implementation/Simulation/Capacity Assurance Engineer, and Reliability &
Maintainability Systems Risk Engineer. Every one of these future jobs
has several reliability and maintainability components in it, so there
will be plenty to do for the Reliability & Maintainability teams. It will
be important to keep up with your industry's future technologies, IoT
interfaces, and capabilities.
For a factory or system to be considered Industry 4.0, it must
include:
 Interconnection: Machines, devices, sensors, and people to connect
and communicate with one another using the internet.
 Information transparency: Provide vast amounts of data (useful
information at the plant-floor level) to allow operators to make good
decisions.
 Technical assistance: The ability of systems to help humans make

JANUARY 2020

decisions and solve problems (by compiling data and making it visual
in a meaningful way). In addition, the ability to assist humans with
tasks that are difficult/unsafe/ergonomically unfriendly.
 Decentralized decision making: The ability of cyber-physical systems to make simple decisions on their own and become as
autonomous as possible (making more difficult decisions). (adapted
from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industry_4.0#cite_note-Definition-I4.0-3).
Industry will change very quickly moving forward. Decide what
you want to get better at (accordiing to what will affect your business)
and learn how to use reliability and maintainability as a competitive
advantage. EP

Based in Knoxville, Klaus M. Blache is director of the Reliability &
Maintainability Center at the Univ. of Tennessee, and a research
professor in the College of Engineering. Contact him at
kblache@utk.edu.

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Efficient Plant January 2020

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