Industry 4.0

6 Ways Smart Manufacturing Tech Boosts Sustainability

Roland Kümin
December 15, 2022

The times they are a-changin’.

We live in an age in which the environmental impact of industry cannot be ignored. 

Progress has already been made – just think how far we’ve come from the days of Blake’s 19th century dark satanic mills or even Betjeman’s 20th Century Slough that isn’t fit for humans now.

But the real journey towards more sustainable industrial processes is only just beginning.

Industry 4.0 – full steam ahead for sustainability 

The manufacturing industry is under growing pressure from governments, international organizations, activists, and consumers to become cleaner and greener.

A good example is the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which place a strong focus on developing more environmentally friendly industrial processes. For instance, goal 12 calls on governments and businesses to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. 

Consumers are becoming much more selective about the brands they choose to buy from and increasingly look for manufacturers who adopt green policies and implement sustainable practices.

The UN also launched its Race to Zero campaign to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050, with almost one-third of the largest European publicly listed companies pledged to meet the target. 

In other words, you need to take care not to overproduce products or underuse resources. Smart manufacturing technology is designed to help you do just that.

Smart manufacturing = sustainable manufacturing

The following examples of smart technology can help manufacturing companies to achieve sustainability goals and boost their eco-credentials.

  • Digital Twins – A digital representation of real-life processes or systems is known as a ‘digital twin’. Digital twins help manufacturers to optimize their processes making them more energy efficient and less wasteful. 
  • AI & Machine Learning – According to a Deloitte survey, 93% of manufacturers believe that AI will be fundamental in driving growth and innovation over the next few years. Machine learning models will integrate with digital twins to minimize carbon emissions and energy consumption. AI can also help to improve logistics, such as route optimization, thus reducing the carbon footprint of a business. 
  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – IIoT devices are sensors and devices that collect data from machinery and equipment, such as visual images or measurements. An interface gathers the data and stores it on your local network or cloud. 
  • Process Automation – Streamline your production lines to reduce losses and waste, while simultaneously improving productivity with automated processes and workflows. A smart manufacturing platform can connect your processes with digital technology to automate or enhance decision making. 
  • Predictive Maintenance – This is one of the most important strategies that smart manufacturing enables. Replacing machinery due to neglect or carrying out extensive repairs is far less sustainable than making small repairs ahead of predicted machine failure and downtime.
  • Life Cycle Analysis – Smart technology enables you to gain insights into the life cycle of your products and look for ways to reduce the negative environmental impact. AI models can analyze data from the entire life cycle and identify hot-spots for carbon or greenhouse gas emission. 

O3 – Industry 4.0-ready smart manufacturing platform

The O3 smart manufacturing platform has everything you need to transform your manufacturing processes, making them more productive, efficient, and sustainable.

The modular platform uses a combination of digital twins and AI to provide solutions for supply chain management, production process optimization, predictive maintenance, quality control and more.

The platform works by feeding data collected directly from machines or IIoT sensors into a digital twin. Built-in machine learning models can then be used to generate insights or automate processes.

To see O3 action and discover how we can help you to adopt sustainable smart manufacturing solutions, contact us today.

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