What are the challenges of digital continuity in Industry 4.0?

The advent of Industry 4.0 is profoundly changing design and production processes. Industry 4.0 refers to the introduction of advanced digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, artificial intelligence and robotics throughout the industrial value chain. Digital continuity is now the cornerstone of this transformation. It optimises the creation of value and the management of flows within intelligent factories. However, its implementation raises some major challenges. Let’s take a look at the key issues that need to be addressed if you are to reap the full benefits of digital continuity.

Digital continuity and Industry 4.0: the challenges

Managing data flows to boost value

Industry 4.0 is generating torrents of data across the entire value chain. On production lines, the sensors on connected machines continuously monitor a wide range of parameters: temperature, pressure, vibration, power consumption and so on. Product lifecycle management (PLM) software centralises computer-aided design (CAD) data. On-board systems in finished products transmit information on conditions of use.

These gigabytes of heterogeneous data represent a unique opportunity for optimisation at every link in the value chain. Their processing and in-depth analysis guide decisions to improve quality, performance and maintainability. Data guides the design of new ranges to meet market expectations. It also guides predictive maintenance to minimise downtime.

However, to deliver these benefits, data must flow smoothly between different systems. Yet persistent silos often hamper exchanges. Each department or site exploits its data locally, without sharing it with the rest of the organisation. This compartmentalisation prevents the value of data from being exploited on a company-wide scale.

Worse still, it can lead to erroneous decisions based on fragmented data. Without a holistic view, problems go undetected and persist. Performance suffers as a result.

Digital continuity aims precisely to make these flows more fluid, so as to exploit their full potential. It synchronises and integrates data across the entire product lifecycle. Thanks to federating platforms such as PLM, data becomes a strategic asset for creating value. In-depth exploitation of this data feeds personalised action plans. It stimulates product innovation to create a sustainable competitive advantage.

The key conditions for creating value through data

Continuity of data flows is only the first building block. To derive real value from data, its quality is an essential prerequisite.

First of all, the data must accurately reflect the reality on the ground at any given moment. Obsolete or erroneous data leads to biased analyses, and therefore to inappropriate decisions.

Secondly, technical interoperability guarantees the integrity of the data as it circulates between heterogeneous systems. Open standards such as HTML and JSON structure data so that it can be shared more easily. Stable APIs ensure fluid connections between applications.

In addition, predictive analytics create business value from data. Artificial intelligence algorithms detect trends and correlations. They anticipate future trends in key metrics: equipment performance, maintenance requirements, changes in demand, etc.

These forecasts inform decision-making to adapt industrial processes as effectively as possible. They guide investment and product innovation.

To enable these prescriptive analyses, digital continuity provides access to reliable, synchronised and interconnected data. It lays the foundations for data-driven value creation, at the heart of Industry 4.0.

How is digital continuity shaping Industry 4.0?

A more connected industry

Digital continuity intensifies connections within the extended industrial ecosystem. It makes exchanges between external partners and internal systems more fluid.

PLM solutions like Dassault Systèmes ENOVIA play a central role here. Available in SaaS mode, they bring together all product data on a single platform.

This means that partners can access information in real time, wherever they are. This transparency enhances collective agility in the face of unforeseen events.

A more reliable industry

Digital continuity also consolidates the reliability of industrial facilities. It continuously synchronises the digital twin and the physical twin of the plant.

Their respective states overlap and mutually enrich each other. As a result, the digital twin perfectly reflects the physical reality. It optimises predictive maintenance and fault reproduction.

A more flexible industry

Digital continuity also increases the flexibility of the production system. It enables flows to be rapidly adapted to variations in demand.

In concrete terms, real-time planning adjusts according to customer orders. Production adapts its pace and range accordingly.

In this way, the fluidity of information flows, backed up by digital continuity, supports industrial agility. The production tool gains in flexibility to satisfy a volatile demand.

Ultimately, digital continuity is the cornerstone of the transformation to Industry 4.0. To fully exploit its potential, a holistic approach is required. This encompasses information systems, infrastructures and human skills. Digital continuity then feeds a virtuous circle that creates value for the entire industrial ecosystem.

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Accelerate your digital transformation with Knowmore’s immersive platforms. They ensure the successful adoption of digital tools to exploit the full value of your data.

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