Industry 4.0 & Dark Factory Demystified
Jun 11, 2021
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Industry 4.0 & Dark Factory Demystified
Ragini Agarwal
Ragini Agarwal
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Introduction

The ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices using modern technology is what we know as Industry 4.0.

The fourth revolution will prove to be the most impactful as it will bring a drastic change in many fields of work. The fourth industrial revolution is a fusion of advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), genetic engineering, quantum computing, and more.

The industry 4.0 market, valued at USD 86.03 billion in 2020 and expected to reach USD 267.01 billion by 2026 and grow at a CAGR of 20.71% over the forecast period (2021- 2026). The COVID-19 upsurge has further driven the adoption of industry 4.0 and improves resilience to any further pandemics.

In a pandemic, the automation of manufacturing sites can help manufacturers follow social distancing by decreasing the number of workers at the production site. This will not only reduce the risk of the health of the employers but the employees as well.

What are Dark Factories?

Dark Factories are fully automated manufacturing sites, ensuring that production is taking place with no human intervention. From the entry of the raw material at the production site to the delivery of the finished goods, each task is carried out by fully automated machines.

Another name for dark factories is ?Lights Out Manufacturing?, unlike humans who need light to work, these fully automated machines can work without lights. This is possible only when the machines do not use any optical sensors and no visual monitoring.

Dark production has enormous benefits along with the new ways of implementing automation, they provide a high accuracy level, perform faster automated processes, do better detection of problems, and provide increased output.

Are Dark Factories A Threat To Human Employment?

Modern technologies are posing a serious threat to the future of employment. As modern machines are efficient, accurate in work, and learn to accomplish increasingly complex production tasks, the concern arises that automation will wipe out a significant number of job opportunities for many people. This can create a huge problem for people who don?t have any prior skills and depend on the task provided to them by the manufacturing firms or factories.

Most factories don?t need many workers as robots and machines are able to do the same work in a better way. Almost 88% of the 5.6 million workers have lost their jobs in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010 according to a study by the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University. And investment in industrial robots is expected to grow by 10% every year in the 25 biggest export nations by 2025.

However, some manufacturing sites may prefer human labor because of the high capital expenditure required to invest in automation. A well-structured automated system can cost millions of dollars to design, frame, and install. Apart from this, the fully automated machines need a high level of maintenance and care. With all this, small-scale manufactures would prefer to stick to the ideology of human labor.

Will Industry 4.0 Create Dark Factories?

None of us might have ever imagined that the trend which started with the discovery of steam engines and weaving loom will reach a stage where something like Dark Factories could also be formed. The more we people are heading towards modernization and technological upliftments, the more we excel in our businesses. From the First Industrial Revolution in 1765 to the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution, technology has bought many brilliant innovations.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution describes the fading of the thin line of difference between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. Modern technologies have paved the way for many multi-functional devices like smartphones, smartwatches, IoT, etc. The growing technology has made our lives easier, faster, better, and more fun.

Machines Vs Humans

Although machines have more efficiency than human labor and automation of manufacturing sites will replace humans with machines. Still, what the humans can do, the machines can?t. Humans can intellectually perform a task and analyze the situation on prudential and moral considerations, whereas the machines lack this quality. Machines can only work according to the instructions given to them. Also, if one machine breaks down due to any fault, the whole system will stop. This may give a halt to the production as these machines require a good amount of time for repair. This can cause a great loss to many companies as their production rate per day is really high. But, the situation won?t be the same with the human workforce.

Both machines and humans have their own pros and cons. And we should not forget that it?s the humans only who have created these machines.

There are many things that machines can do far better than that human, but saying that machines can replace humans wouldn?t be fair.

Summing-up

With the passage of time the technology is developing rapidly thus, there is a need for each one of us to pace up with the growing technology. Technological advancements might affect us either positively or negatively. It depends on us, how we allow use it and let it affect us. The more we make healthy use out of it, the more it will help us in our journey.

The developed countries might jump onto the idea of making the production industry fully automated, while the developing countries would take some time to adapt to this technology.

Ragini Agarwal
Ragini Agarwal
Ragini is a Freelance Writer who loves illuminating her readers in the realms of technology, lifestyle, productivity, and healthcare. She believes that words have the power to bring a change!
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