4.0 is a term now used on the agenda in the industrial field, with which we want to express modernity, innovation, and evolution. But in what terms? Let’s start with analyzing the expression ” Industry 4.0 “: it was used for the first time in Germany during the 2011 Hanover industrial fair and embraces the theme of interconnection and cooperation of resources. Emerging from the fourth industrial revolution, the transformation process has the premise of leading to a fully automated factory where the data is no longer understood only as information in an isolated system but is part of a network and creates value.
The Fundamental Principles Concern:
- The connectivity between physical and digital systems through the collection and management of data, which is declined in Big Data, Open Data, Internet of Things, and Cloud computing;
- Analytics: computing power to obtain precise, fast, and updated results;
- Human-machine interaction developed through operational technologies such as user-friendly interfaces and augmented reality;
- The transition from digital to real through additive manufacturing, 3D printing, collaborative robotics, machine-to-machine interactions, and new technologies.
And they aim to create a distributed network of intelligence, which connotes the factory environment as an integrated and collaborative system capable of simplifying, rationalizing, and making the creation of products and the entire supply chain more efficient. The fields of application of this new approach are many: from the manufacturing sector to the textile sector, from the electronic sector to the ceramic sector, as well as robotics applied to the medical sector.
The digital revolution is defined as a constantly changing environment where the company and people must grow together by integrating through increasingly delicate and complex relationships. This connection opens new paths toward an innovative way of producing and consuming that has an essential impact on people’s daily lives. As usually happens in a circumstance of change, some discussion topics of a social nature developed. We will clarify some of them, starting with this question: what will be the effects of the fourth industrial revolution?
In these first years of development of 4.0, there are still great expectations and fears. From this innovation, the aim is to obtain an intelligent factory in which operators, machines, control systems, and even products can communicate with each other in real time. The primary purpose is to make companies capable of responding to a demand increasingly characterized by the wide variety and variability and reducing production costs. All this aims to ensure continued competitiveness in the market if supported by careful planning of reliable and just-in-time supply chains.
If the expectations are listed above, we cannot ignore the presence of critical issues deriving from the complex mastery of such articulated technologies and the scarce availability of resources that can use them. One of the most widespread fears concerns employment: how will work change? What new professional skills will be needed, and which ones will be destined to evolve instead? It is about updating skills: tomorrow, there will be a need to interact with the machine. ”
Indeed, we face a phenomenon marked by the transformation and requalification of resources, not destruction. If it becomes clear that some professions will become obsolete due to automation, for example, through the use of robots, tailor-made programs, automatic driving, and automated recognition of certain situations, thanks to new roles will be created that will see people as protagonists and will be necessary retraining and training actions to be able to adapt the workforce to its processes.
Cross-functional training will be preferred over vertical ones, and characteristics like creativity and flexibility will be necessary to fill what the machine cannot do. In this sense, man is once again at the center. The professional skills that will be deemed most interesting, in addition to those that will have to do with information technology, engineering, and specialized management, will acquire value in those complemented by soft skills, such as problem-solving, flexibility, etc. critical thinking, and creativity.