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11 August, 2022

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Are you ready for Industry 5.0?

01 March, 2022

We are still getting to grips with the concept of Industry 4.0, but already we are being told it’s time to start thinking about Industry 5.0. What’s going on? Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, explains.

Industry 4.0 is a term that anyone reading this column will already be familiar with. However, a term recently thrown into the whirlpool of innovation is Industry 5.0! Yes, even though we’re still on our journey to reaching our goals for digital transformation through the fourth industrial revolution, ideas are already being formulated for the next stage. According to the European Commission, “Industry 5.0 provides a vison of industry that aims beyond efficiency and productivity as the sole goals, and reinforces the role and the contribution of industry to society”.

The idea is that Industry 5.0 can help to revise our existing value chains and energy consumption practices, and by enhancing efficiency and productivity, could also make industries more robust against external shocks.

Europe is conceiving this new vision because it believes that Industry 4.0 lacks certain design and performance dimensions which could be unlocked to make systematic transformation possible, and ensure the best use of resources and maximising efficiency. But are we jumping the gun, before we’ve even achieved 4.0 – or do we in the UK agree with this goal?

From reading around the topic, it seems that concept of Industry 5.0 has emerged because of the unforeseen evolution that was required to deal with the pandemic. The idea is to develop what we have learned from this experience, and design an industrial eco-system that will be able to handle potential future shocks.

A key focus of Industry 5.0 is the collaboration and interaction between humans and machines. A co-operative environment was needed during the pandemic, with humans and robots needing to develop a cohesive relationship to ensure that manufacturers were able to operate at their highest achievable capacity.

This interoperability between humans and robots is essential to achieve collaboration between increasingly effective and precise machinery and the unique creativity and innovative potential of human beings.

Many manufacturers, in their recovery response to the pandemic, began to do this without realising that they were moving towards Industry 5.0, but because they had no choice if they were to continue to operate. It means that we now have an added requirement for the convergence of the IT and OT.

Both IT and OT are essential contributors to ensuring the convergence is as seamless as possible. Nonetheless, there is historically a gap between the two and it is crucial that this is closed or bridged as soon as possible. As operational technologies are increasingly being brought online, with data analytics and improved connectivity, it is becoming essential that the two converge.

Put simplistically, IT deals with the digital flow of information, while OT deals with the operation of physical processes and the machines used to carry them out. It is important for IT to start “thinking” like OT and vice versa. For them to work in parallel, they must understand one another. The introduction of the IIoT has created a mutual concern that is ultimately to ensure employee and customer safety, while maintaining control of systems and machinery.  

This principle, in combination with Industry 5.0 concepts, technologies such as cloud computing and the industrial edge are closing the gap between the two, while the flow of data is helping to break down the barriers.

So, how can we aim for Industry 5.0 if we haven’t yet achieved Industry 4.0.? My understanding is that Industry 5.0 is more of a development based on Industry 4.0 and an enhancement of it, which became evident through the pandemic and, for the UK, during the Brexit transition. The first and second industrial revolutions were most certainly revolutions, but as we move on and technologies already exist that just have to be developed further, we need to start looking at them more as an evolution going forward.




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