4IR Features: DK Karthikeyan - Industry 4.0 Magazine Editorial Director
For this 4IR Features Interview, we're having DK Karthikeyan of Industry 4.0 Magazine. D.K. is the Editorial Director of INDUSTRY 4.0 Magazine and Director of Texas Ventures. He is also the advisor and mentor of "Connecting the Dots" - an Industry 4.0 initiative to support start-ups. He was awarded “Young Achiever Award” for the Year 2006 by emex, Singapore and is an active Rotarian.
1. You've worked in a lot of roles for quite a few companies; what is your current role in Industry 4.0?
Warm greetings from INDUSTRY 4.0 to 4IR Solutions blog readers. Currently my role in INDUSTRY 4.0 Magazine is as the Editorial Director. In this capacity, my team and I are responsible for all the editorial activities of this magazine.
2. Tell us a bit about Industry 4.0 magazine.
INDUSTRY 4.0 Magazine is a premier technology online manufacturing magazine. We cover the latest technologies & trends in manufacturing and function as your guide to technology management, digital transformation, manufacturing Systems, operations, supply chain management, information technology, business, and economy. We write on both discrete & process manufacturing, and cover sectors like aerospace, automotive, defense, etc.
We also publish research reports & case studies on digital transformation, AI, robotics, IoT, automation, and cloud. INDUSTRY 4.0 strives to emerge as an industry knowledge sharing platform connecting the manufacturing value chain with relevant content and active participation. We engage with industry and technology leaders to provide a comprehensive overview of innovation and achievement across the manufacturing spectrum. Focused articles are produced on trends and developments in the manufacturing sector, technology advances, strategy innovations, best practices, and management issues of interest to senior executives. We also provide you with the latest breaking news and videos straight from the manufacturing industry.
3. What trends are you seeing in the industry currently?
Undoubtedly Industry 4.0 is the current buzzword in the industry frontier. Industry 4.0 is the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is changing industrial production drastically.
Top Five Current Trends in the Industry are:
a. Industry 4.0:
Industry 4.0 enables large-scale manufacturing improvements towards flexible production, informed decision-making, and operational excellence. This means that the optimal smart manufacturing network will not only keep your factories up and running, but also make your discrete manufacturing business more competitive and profitable.
The manufacturing industry is leading in the IoT adoption because of the revolutionary ways, this connected technology has streamlined and simplified various manufacturing processes. For instance, IoT can provide real time feedback and alert companies of defects or damaged goods. These simple yet critical implementations of IoT reduce cost and waste.
c. AI & Machine Learning:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is pushing the boundaries of machine-enabled functionalities. This cutting-edge technology facilitates machines to act with a degree of autonomy, resulting in effective execution. AI facilitates the creation of a next-generation workplace that thrives on seamless collaboration between enterprise system and individuals.
The following are the primary advantages of AI:
· AI drives down the time taken to perform a task. It enables multi-tasking and eases the workload for existing resources.
· AI enables the execution of complex tasks without significant cost outlays.
· AI operates 24x7 without interruption or breaks and has no downtime.
· AI has mass market potential; it can be deployed across industries.
· AI facilitates decision-making by making the process faster and smarter.
Machine Learning (ML) is a sub-category of artificial intelligence that refers to the process by which computers develop pattern recognition, or the ability to continuously learn from and make predictions based on data, then make adjustments without being specifically programmed to do so.
Today, these advanced algorithms are transforming the way the manufacturing industry collects information, performs skilled labor & predicts consumer behavior. Smart factories with integrated IT systems provide relevant data to both sides of the supply chain more easily, increasing production capacity by 20%. Quality is no longer sacrificed for efficiency, as machine learning algorithms determine which factors impact service and production quality.
Traditionally, robots have been used to perform tedious, repetitive tasks on the assembly line. Today, however, robots are capable of mimicking more human traits such as dexterity and memory, which makes them more useful in industries like manufacturing. Highly trainable & collaborative robots are also providing safer working environments for humans by switching places with them in dangerous or unsuitable situations.
e. Data Analytics:
Data analytics is a broad term that encompasses many diverse types of data analysis. Any type of information can be subjected to data analytics techniques to get insight that can be used to improve things. Data analytics techniques can reveal trends and metrics that would otherwise be lost in the mass of information. This information can then be used to optimize processes to increase the overall efficiency of a business or system.
For example, manufacturing companies often record the runtime, downtime, and work queue for various machines and then analyze the data to better plan workloads, so the machines operate closer to peak capacity. Data analytics can do much more than point out bottlenecks in production.
4. What common challenges are you seeing in the industry surrounding digital transformation?
Digital Transformation is interconnected with people, processes, and technology. People love new technologies, but the transformation only happens effectively when the people adapt to the processes and learn how to generate more value using these new technologies.
So the first and foremost challenge is the people (the employees) should embrace technological change and on the other side employer should make sure as much effort is spent on their cultural change. Clearly communicating your plan and vision for the company is just as important as coming up with the strategy. If the value of digital transformation is not communicated well to employees, the company may not obtain intrinsic buy-in from its employees. Provide employees with transparency, a clear structure, a plan, and adequate training to prepare them for the digital transformation.
The biggest challenge companies face with a digital transformation is not having the internal expertise to take the initiative. This is when collaborating with a technology partner or hiring the right talent for your company becomes critical to your digital transformation journey.
The second biggest challenge companies face is around the mismatch of their existing toolsets. Whether internal or outsourced, the infrastructure is the central nervous system of your organization. So, most thought processes should go towards selecting the right technology and link back to the desired business outcomes.
Another important challenge is cyber security; a lot of trust and emphasis have to be given in this domain during digital transformation.
5. If you had to give one piece of advice to companies working in the industry 4.0, what would it be?
Industry 4.0 is making it easier for companies to collaborate and share data among customers, manufacturers, suppliers, and other parties in the supply chain. It improves productivity and competitiveness, enables the transition to a digital economy, and provides opportunities to achieve economic growth and sustainability.
My final say in this article would be “embrace Industry 4.0 and rediscover growth”.
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