You may assume the final form of the Smart factory is a fully autonomous robot worker, but what if we told you it’s actually… human workers?
Industry 5.0 is set to redefine the way we perceive and engage with manufacturing processes. This paradigm shift goes beyond mere automation; it intertwines the capabilities of humans and machines, fostering a more holistic and interconnected manufacturing ecosystem.
Understanding the Historical Evolution: From Industry 1.0 to Industry 4.0
Industry 5.0 is a theoretical framework that helps to explain the history and evolution of the manufacturing industry. To fully grasp the extent of its meaning, we will briefly touch on the Industries 1.0-4.0 that came before.
Industry 1.0: The Age of Mechanization
The first industrial revolution, characterized by the advent of water and steam power, laid the foundation for mechanized production processes. Factories emerged, replacing manual labor with machines and significantly increasing output.
An example of an Industry 1.0 technology is the printing press, which mechanized the publishing process for greater efficiency.
Industry 2.0: The Rise of Mass Production
Electricity and the assembly line epitomized the second industrial revolution. Mass production became the norm, enabling the creation of standardized products on a large scale. Efficiency and productivity soared to unprecedented levels.
An example of an Industry 2.0 technology is electricity, which exponentially fueled production capacity.
Industry 3.0: The Digital Revolution
The third industrial revolution introduced computers and automation, bringing about a shift towards digital technologies. Manufacturing processes became more streamlined, and the ability to program machines opened up new possibilities.
An example of an Industry 3.0 technology is the computer, which allowed for greater processing power through digital control.
Industry 4.0: The Era of Smart Manufacturing
Building upon the third revolution, Industry 4.0 embraced the integration of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI). Factories became smarter, with machines communicating and making decisions in real-time. The focus shifted to data-driven insights, predictive maintenance, and customization.
An example of an Industry 4.0 technology is augmented reality, which can replicate physical environments for training or testing purposes.
As we draw a line from Industries 1.0 through 4.0, we can see the increased use of machinery and the decreased need for human labor. However, it’s critical to note that humans are a crucial part of the manufacturing process, whether through direct physical labor or through the operation of such machinery. It’s helpful for a factory to use automation, but without a person to direct the applied use of automation, it’s just yet another tool in the metaphorical toolkit.
Industry 5.0: Bridging the Gap Between Humans and Machines
Just because humans are the driving force behind the evolution of Industry 5.0 doesn’t mean everything is going to happen naturally – it requires effort and vision to take a step forward and leave behind outdated reliance upon mechanical processes.
The Human Touch Is Manufacturing’s Greatest Asset
While Industry 4.0 was instrumental in creating highly efficient and connected manufacturing systems, it sometimes overlooked the human element. Industry 5.0 seeks to rectify this by placing humans back at the center of production.
In Industry 5.0, the emphasis is on collaboration between humans and machines, leveraging the unique strengths of each. Automation is not about replacing humans but augmenting their capabilities. This is particularly pertinent in tasks that require creativity, critical thinking, and complex decision-making – areas where human intuition and ingenuity shine.
For example, a particular inefficiency in workflow could be solved with a creative solution like staggering shifts or combining tasks, which could only be recognized by a shrewd and experienced worker.
Another example is when OEE software collects data from machines, providing uptime/downtime data and analytical insight. Based on that, the operator can use that information to provide additional maintenance.
Human ingenuity is like no other, including artificial intelligence, and there’s immense value in using that resource to its fullest potential, both for more efficient manufacturing and also for more engaged work for the individual worker.
Enhanced Connectivity Is a Means to An End for Real Manufacturing Leaders
Industry 5.0 is marked by unprecedented levels of connectivity. Advanced communication technologies such as 5G play a pivotal role in ensuring seamless connectivity between machines and humans. This high-speed, low-latency connectivity is crucial for real-time data exchange, enabling quick decision-making and responsiveness.
For example, most factories these days have at least some IoT devices integrated into their infrastructure. With an unstable or weak internet connection, this technology is next to useless, but thanks to 5G, strategic decisions that come from data insights collected through an IIoT network helps leaders make Just-In-Time decisions for smarter manufacturing.
The connected worker is more equipped than any past worker to respond to emergencies, adjust process flow, and meet customer expectations.
The enhanced connectivity also extends to supply chains. In Industry 5.0, supply chains are not just interconnected but are intelligent networks capable of adapting to changes dynamically. This agility is vital in today’s fast-paced and unpredictable business environment.
Edge Computing & Decentralization Give More Power to the Human Perspective
Industry 5.0 takes a step further in decentralizing decision-making processes through edge computing. By processing data closer to the source (at the ‘edge’ of the network), latency is reduced, and real-time insights can be generated. This is particularly beneficial in applications where quick response times are critical, such as autonomous manufacturing systems.
For example, digital thread and digital twin technology use advanced machine learning and digital rendering to autonomously apply solutions to machinery without needing a physical worker. With 3D virtualization, potential solutions can be trial-run to test for optimal outcomes without having to waste critical time and resources. The worker operating this type of virtualization is able to test possibilities with a greater degree of accuracy before implementing them.
While the connected worker has critical information at their fingertips, they are also less susceptible to errors and malicious attacks due to edge computing. Decentralization contributes to increased security and resilience. With computing distributed across various nodes, the system becomes less susceptible to single points of failure, enhancing overall reliability.
Put simply, the human worker is more powerfully connected to insight and less vulnerable to attacks through the technology brought by Industry 5.0.
How Humans Implement Real-World Applications of Industry 5.0
Smart factories are the evidence that Industry 5.0 is alive and thriving today. Here are some direct examples of how they centralize the connected human worker.
Smart Factories Allow Humans To Reach Untapped Potential
Industry 5.0 transforms traditional factories into Smart factories, where human workers and machines coexist harmoniously. Collaborative robots work alongside human workers, taking care of repetitive and physically demanding tasks. This not only enhances efficiency but also reduces the risk of injuries and fatigue among human workers.
An example of a Smart Factory is Deloitte’s new Montreal facility, which uses autonomous pallet movement and augmented reality. These technologies help address the major problem of labor shortages by redistributing difficult and laborious tasks onto robots. This allows the human workers to step back and apply more experienced managerial skills.
Moreover, the integration of visual-first instruction software in Smart factories provides workers with immersive training experiences. This ensures that they are well-equipped to handle complex tasks and operate advanced machinery.
Industry 5.0 Customization At Scale Is Human-Centered At Its Core
One of the standout features of Industry 5.0 is the ability to achieve mass customization. While Industry 4.0 introduced the concept, Industry 5.0 takes it to new heights. The collaboration between humans and machines facilitates the production of highly customized products at scale.
Through advanced analytics and AI, manufacturers can understand individual customer needs and preferences. This data is then utilized to tailor products during the manufacturing process, ensuring a level of personalization that was once thought to be impractical on a large scale.
Theoretically, robots could eventually be able to manufacture any item you can think of in the world, but without human demand for a product range, that would be extremely wasteful for a factory to do. Mass customization allows for a greater range of product types without massive waste and pollution because these customizations can be made along the same production lines with reused materials and components.
Human Decision-Making From Automated Data Improves Supply Chain Resilience
Industry 5.0 addresses the vulnerabilities exposed by global disruptions, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. By creating decentralized and intelligent supply chain networks, manufacturers can adapt swiftly to unforeseen challenges. The ability to reconfigure production processes in response to changing circumstances ensures resilience and reduces the impact of disruptions.
This aspect of Industry 5.0 is decidedly human-centered, because things like shortening supply chains for lower transportation costs and environmental effects are beneficial to humans and the environment in particular. Human workers have the greatest context to make decisions based on supply chain irregularities due to political events, natural disasters, etc.
It’s not practical nor beneficial for autonomous systems to be fully in control of the supply chain because they are separated from society and global events. Humans are the only ones to make holistic decisions within our changing environment outside of the factory.
Overcoming Challenges in the Transition to Industry 5.0
Wait a second… challenges? Well, we never said it would be easy! But it is absolutely worth it, so here are some things to anticipate in welcoming the improvements brought by Industry 5.0.
Meeting the Potential of Industry 5.0 With Human Workforce Reskilling
The integration of Industry 5.0 requires a workforce with a diverse skill set. While automation handles routine tasks, human workers need to possess the ability to work alongside advanced technologies. Upskilling and reskilling programs are essential to equip the workforce with the necessary digital literacy, problem-solving skills, and adaptability.
- Upskilling is a workplace training concept where employees are encouraged to expand their areas of expertise by acquiring in-depth skills in niche areas or to fill knowledge gaps
- Reskilling is another type of workplace training where employees can train in previously unknown skill sets; it facilitates lateral movement across separate departments or domains of work
The best way to do any form of upskilling or reskilling is by integrating training and certification tracking into your digital platform.
A Humanistic Solution to Cybersecurity Concerns
With increased connectivity and the proliferation of IoT devices, cybersecurity becomes a paramount concern. Industry 5.0 necessitates robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard sensitive data and ensure the integrity of manufacturing processes. This involves implementing encryption, secure communication protocols, and regular cybersecurity audits.
While this may seem like a lot, it is little investment for the massive payoff of having a more integrated, digital platform that enhances the capabilities of human workers in nearly every way.
Prioritizing the Human User: Standardization and Interoperability
For Industry 5.0 to reach its full potential, there must be a concerted effort towards standardization and interoperability. This involves developing common protocols and standards that facilitate seamless communication between different devices and systems. Standardization not only enhances compatibility but also accelerates the adoption of Industry 5.0 across diverse industries.
It’s important that the connected worker can switch seamlessly between platforms and access data from different sources. Things like standardization and SOPs are a natural and human-centered means of enshrining knowledge in your workforce.
The Human Element Driving Industry 5.0
As we embark on the journey into Industry 5.0, the transformation of industrial manufacturing is expected to be nothing short of revolutionary. The fusion of human intelligence and machine capabilities will redefine the possibilities of what we can achieve in the manufacturing landscape.
After all, robots are definitely impressive, but it’s the human workers managing that high-tech equipment who revolutionize industrial manufacturing standards. Let’s go over why.
How Humans Can Harness the Economic Impacts of Industry 5.0
The economic implications of Industry 5.0 are profound. The enhanced efficiency, customization capabilities, and resilience in the face of disruptions contribute to economic growth. Moreover, the creation of highly skilled jobs in areas such as AI programming, data analysis, and system optimization will reshape the employment landscape in pursuit of an ideal worker-machine collaboration.
Sure, some jobs currently held by humans are being transferred to Smart tools and technologies, but those humans now have different roles to fill. Industry 5.0 is all about relieving human workers of dangerous and monotonous labor and replacing it with higher-level managerial roles.
For example – and let’s go back to a prior industrial revolution to make this point – when the printing press took the jobs of educated scribes, more job opportunities opened up in the areas of operating and repairing printing press machines and also in the procurement and dissemination of more literature to print!
Industry 5.0, therefore, will provide deeper opportunities for humans to delve into process control and grapple with analytical problems using the data and core operations provided by Smart technologies.
Humans At The Center of Environmental Sustainability Initiatives
Industry 5.0 is not just about economic gains; it also holds the key to sustainable and responsible manufacturing. The ability to optimize resource usage, reduce waste, and create eco-friendly products aligns with the growing global emphasis on environmental sustainability. Manufacturers embracing Industry 5.0 are not just pioneers in technology; they are champions of a greener future.
But how do humans fit into this viewpoint?
Whether we like it or not, humans need basics to survive like clean air and water. As history has endured, we have recognized the dramatic effect traditional manufacturing has had on the global environment in regards to pollution and resource draining.
This is not a new concept – ever since the dawn of industrialization, manufacturers have had to concern themselves with limited resources. An automated system may be able to point out resource inefficiencies, but it’s human beings who are able to wield technology for a greater moral and sustainable purpose.
The fusion of human creativity and machine precision in Industry 5.0 is instrumental in promoting sustainable manufacturing practices. AI algorithms can optimize energy consumption, minimize waste, and identify eco-friendly materials. Human insights contribute to innovative solutions for environmental challenges and foster a culture of responsible production.
A great example of sustainable manufacturing is Mobility Worldwide, which creates accessibility carts for disabled users in poor areas using limited resources.
We see this happening today in the age of Industry 5.0, where manufacturing leaders are developing green technology and investing in reusable materials for a better future.
How Industry 5.0 Is Pushing Human Ingenuity
The integration of humans and machines in Industry 5.0 has social implications as well. The nature of work is evolving, with a greater focus on creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration. This shift requires a cultural change in how societies perceive work and education. Embracing a lifelong learning mindset becomes imperative as technology continues to advance.
Let’s put that last point in practical terms: take the field of computer science, which splits into hundreds if not thousands of sub-topics and research opportunities. It’s simply not possible (or at least, very rare) for one lone engineer to know everything about a computer system from the electrical hardware to network security to programming hacks. Sure, some keen engineers like to have a broad knowledge base, but there’s simply too much specialized knowledge available in the field. How can computer experts work around this constraint? The answer is obvious, yet profound: engineers in different fields collaborate, sharing the tools they know best, and their niche insight contributes to innovative, out-of-the-box team thinking.
This is why humans are the master key to unlocking the potential of Industry 5.0 – our Smart tools were never meant to replace us, just to enhance our natural capacity for intelligent and practical manufacturing standards.
Towards Industry 5.0 and A More Humane Approach to Manufacturing
Industry 5.0 represents a paradigm shift that goes beyond technological innovation; it encapsulates a fundamental change in how we approach manufacturing. The collaboration between humans and machines, the emphasis on customization, and the decentralized nature of decision-making mark a new era in industrial evolution.
As we navigate the complexities and opportunities presented by Industry 5.0, it is crucial for businesses to be proactive in adapting to this transformative wave. From reskilling the workforce to addressing cybersecurity concerns, the challenges are significant, but so are the potential rewards.
In the coming years, Industry 5.0 will unfold as a dynamic force reshaping industries, economies, and societies. Those at the forefront of this revolution will not only witness unprecedented growth but will also play a pivotal role in shaping a future where human ingenuity and technological prowess converge for the greater good.
The journey to Industry 5.0 is not just a technological progression; it’s a testament to our collective ability to innovate, adapt, and thrive in the face of change.