Volume 3 Issue 9 September 2021
In this Issue
Welcome to Industree 4.0 for September 2021, exclusively sponsored by SAP.
By Alina Gross, SAP
How Industry 4.0 Helps Firms Address the Triple Bottom Line
The phrase “The Triple Bottom Line” (TBL) was first coined in 1994 by John Elkington. His argument was that companies should be preparing three different (and quite separate) bottom lines: profit, people and planet. TBL believes if a firm looks at profits only, ignoring people and the planet, it cannot account for the full cost of doing business.

Decades later, growing world population, climate change, environmental pollution and the scarcity of natural resources have put sustainability as a top purpose or corporate initiative for many organizations. This begs the question:

Can today’s organizations act sustainably when they simultaneously support all dimensions of the Triple Bottom Line?

The answer is a resounding “yes” as sustainability is one of the core drivers of Industry 4.0—an industrial initiative that transforms traditional factories into smart factories through the use of digital technologies on the assembly line. Let’s take a closer look at the economic, environmental and social impact.

Profit - Economic Impact

Industry 4.0, enabled by IoT, AI, machine learning, data analytics and others, leads to efficiency and effectiveness gains through new ways of producing goods and optimizing the supply chain. It enables the development of products at significantly lower financial and environmental costs through efficient use of energy and resources.

With the right implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies, manufacturers are able to detect non-optimized processes in their value chain and therefore enable manufacturers to right-size their equipment, labor and resources, as they provide insights into process gaps that can be optimized, reducing manufacturing operating costs and increasing productivity.

Companies using sensors on the assembly line further improve economic sustainability through improved inventory management and warehouse management. IoT applications improve the efficiency and effectiveness of supply chain management by reducing inventory inaccuracy and time to market.

The data generated by Industry 4.0 is analyzed to gather information to improve product life cycles and ultimately the economic performance of the industry. In this way, Industry 4.0 strengthens management decision-making and provides improved analytical capabilities of organizational phenomena.

Planet - Environmental Impact

In terms of the environmental perspective, the core aspect is energy efficiency, which comes from the ability to analyze and predict production performance and match energy consumption with the actual needs of the organization. Industry 4.0 enables energy monitoring applications that lead to energy efficiency and the reduction of CO2 emissions. Energy savings also have a positive impact on productivity within the organization.

Industry 4.0 also reduces waste through a streamlined manufacturing process and effective recycling and remanufacturing initiatives. For instance, the integration of various types of sensors significantly increases transparency in any manufacturing operation or process. These sensors also provide valuable information such as behavior, usage, failure models, performance indicators, emissions, etc. of the product throughout its lifecycle.

Such information is used to design better products and processes with the help of various simulation systems to reduce negative impacts on the environment without compromising competitiveness. Integrated systems also help monitor and manage losses that occur during the product lifecycle, both in the manufacturing and use phases. Thus, with complete transparency, manufacturers can develop new products that are both competitive and environmentally friendly, achieving sustainability.

People - Social Impact

Finally, in terms of impact on the social dimension, Industry 4.0 enables the creation of a safer workplace. No matter how far automation goes, manufacturers will always need people. A safer workplace is a consequence of reduced safety incidents and increased employee morale. Industry 4.0 leverages increasing automation thanks to the use of robotics and digitally connected machines that create better working conditions.

Clearly, Industry 4.0 and sustainability go hand in hand. The principle of sustainability is firmly linked to Industry 4.0 and its values. On the one hand, Industry 4.0 can contribute to achieving sustainable development, which, for example, also ensures the preservation of resources for future generations. On the other hand, sustainability represents the main objective for companies that want to compete in today's world.

It is important that technological and industrial developments enable the achievement of environmental, economic and, of course, social sustainability goals. Therefore, companies should be able to effectively use the tools and opportunities of Industry 4.0 in designing their organization, strategies, policies and operations to achieve sustainable development and/or promote sustainability on a more general level.

For more information on the Sustainable Supply Chain, download the “The Sustainable Supply Chain Paradox: Balancing the bottom line with the green line” research.

By Pat Dixon, PE, PMP

Vice President of Automation, Pulmac Systems International (pulmac.com)

Most of us have some portion of our day wasted waiting for meetings to start. The most common utterance at the beginning of a meeting is “Let’s wait a few minutes.” While others are late, we sit idle. This is a nuisance and a productivity suck, but it is not fatal.

In process control, this can be fatal.

Process control systems are designed to be deterministic. This definition of determinism is not of the philosophical or religious context. Determinism in a process control system means that things happen at a predictable time. If you have interlocks being scanned every 100 milliseconds, they need to execute exactly at 100 milliseconds every time. If you have a PID loop running every second, it must be exactly every second or else the tuning will not work. If an alarm occurs, it needs to propagate through the system with a predictable and minimal delay in order for anyone to respond to it. You cannot have a system where any such function gets stuck in traffic or bogged down for any reason. This can lead to a real disaster.

In the Industry 4.0 era, those not familiar with the concept of determinism can propose very bad ideas. Suggesting that everything can be done in the cloud is a sure sign that this is someone that doesn’t know process control. Maybe someday an Internet connection, cloud servers, and network protocols could get closer to determinism, but we are nowhere near that now.  

Industry 4.0 has opened huge opportunities for improved manufacturing through connectivity. It has not replaced the need for deterministic execution of critical functions in the base process control system.

Do I have your full attention?
An area of future concern rapidly approaching is employee monitoring.

In the manufacturing space where operators are sitting in a control room (or wandering around with a handheld device), employee monitoring can perhaps be seen by all parties involved as helpful. For instance, in an emergency, AI may be able to help the operator solve a problem in real time. Or, supervisory systems may be able to watch performance between shifts of operators and provide helpful shortcuts and learnings from one operator to the next. This will no doubt be fraught with potential ego issues, but those will have to be dealt with.

When it comes to staff employees, other issues will arise, and these will no doubt get complicated.

The COVID work at home scenario has created a couple of sets of difficulties already. One of these is employees moving, with permission, to where they want to live. The problem with this is employers who have been paying employees according to indexes of local costs of living want to take those away, for instance, when an employee moves from San Francisco to Coeur d'Alene. The employee says, "Not so fast. Why does where I live affect my salary?" Of course, if the move was in the other direction, the employee would have their hand out immediately.

The second problem is people working two full time jobs. Home based employees have figured this out and decided doing a mediocre job with two employers beats trying to do an outstanding job with one employer.

What does all this have to do with Industry 4.0? Well, in one way we can say Industry 4.0 may have created these problems. But immediately following, we must say Industry 4.0 managers and implementers are going to need to solve these problems.

No one said Industry 4.0 would be easy, and likely we will have other surprising problems pop up as we continue to implement.
Automating forestry: FPInnovations works towards an autonomous log loader
By Ellen Cools, Canadian Forest Industries
"Recruiting new operators in the industry is difficult. The average age is quite high, so transferring the skillsets is difficult. So, we’re looking at how we can start to automate some functions in the supply chain to make the job easier, and then eventually, as we evolve with the technology, make it fully automated."
Data Science as a Way to Extract Value From the Industrial Internet
By Jared Hartness,
GE Digital
Data science is the art of analyzing data and applying scientific principles and mathematical tools to uncover key patterns within the data that drive significant business value. Data scientists can help build custom analytics that addresses a specific problem, or set of problems, within an organization. Leveraging data science and its techniques such as machine learning, an algorithm’s ability to gain insight from data patterns, can further drive value by providing clearer insight into massive, confusing and siloed industrial datasets.
Another chip shortage will halt IoT projects, analyst predicts
By Matt Hamblen
Shipments of cellular IoT chipsets and modules are expected to drop 6% for the current third quarter compared to the second quarter of 2021, according to Counterpoint Research.
IoT Appetite Is Growing Globally: What’s Holding Back US Market Maturity?
By Nick Earle
Today, large enterprises have moved from experimenting to understanding how to deploy IoT across their operations, integrating it into their global product lines in a way that delivers real value to their consumers and the bottom line. In line with these global IoT adoption patterns, most US businesses continue to see IoT as a priority, with 86 percent planning to increase investment and 46 percent planning to boost spending by between 51 and 100 percent.
Industree 4.0 is exclusively sponsored by SAP