Interconnectivity, automation and digitalisation are questions that have to be tackled today in order to be a leader of tomorrow – and the welding technology sector is no exception. Thanks to the Internet of Things, welding is a high-tech process that is equally as sensitive to the influence of processors, control systems and software as it is to welding torches, electrodes or shielding gas.
Smart factories as the product of the fourth industrial revolution
Digitisation, automation and networking are the dominant trend in industrial production, a development that is usually referred to by the buzzword “Industry 4.0”. Following the invention of the steam engine, mass production with the aid of assembly lines and electricity, and the introduction of electronics and IT, Industry 4.0 marks the fourth industrial revolution. In the smart factories of tomorrow, individual production steps will no longer be considered in isolation, but as part of a higher-level value chain. The goal is to achieve faster, more flexible and more efficient production processes that are seamlessly integrated into one another – intelligent production, which largely organises itself.
A calm analysis of a controversial issue
The discourse surrounding Industry 4.0 is mired in controversy. Optimists see it as a driver of new innovations that will open up new and bespoke methods of manufacturing goods with greater levels of productivity. Critics counter that the automation of manufacturing processes as brought about by Industry 4.0 will translate into fewer jobs, the mass acquisition of personal data without adequate protections and legal uncertainties with respect to autonomous machinery.
Irrespective of which of these two camps one falls into, it is nevertheless important that we tackle this issue head on and consider how the developments of Industry 4.0 will unfold in our industry. To answer this question, we have a prepared a White Paper examining and discussing the significance of Industry 4.0 for welding technology.
You can download the White Paper “Industry 4.0 and welding technology” here: