The Internet of Things industry will be connecting over 34 billion devices by 2020, and a lot of that will be industrial factories. We reported at the beginning of May, that manufacturing, households, transportation and almost everything engineering is going to be connected to the Internet of Things in 2020. We also reported that currently only 8 percent of the manufacturing world is utilizing IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) but will grow by 18 percent over the next five years.
"No industry produces more data than the manufacturing sector, and all of that information can be applied to making smarter business decisions. Companies need to participate in capturing that value. There is $65 billion worth of obsolete industrial automation in use right now. It's only going to get more expensive to repair and replace it. Companies have to commit to modernizing," said Brian Fourtney, a Global Business Manager at Rockwell Automation, speaking to Plastics Today.
Fourtney is adamant to underline the fact that some factories are not modernizing as fast as they should be. The lack of modernizing a factory floor is like cutting off the nose to spite the face at the end of the day when 2020 could be approaching quite quickly. A country that has no delaying tactics when it comes to embracing technology that utilizes IIoT is, unsurprisingly, China.
"With the development of robotics, unlit and unmanned factories will be the next industrial trend," said Deputy Dean of the Overseas Education College at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Gu Liafeng. He calls it 'smart manufacturing', where industry will be connected through IIoT and what is being called "Chinese-style Industry 4.0". Chinese companies are on the forefront of ensuring that factories utilize sensors and data-generating components along with A.I. machines that can perform tasks more efficiently and safely than humans can, whilst generating analytics.
However, replacing workforce is not an easy task when thinking about the societal damage a company can do by replacing all of its workforces with robots who can do their jobs.
"We always talk about migrating systems -- software and hardware -- but what we're really doing is migrating people. Just ask any engineer -- migrations rarely go smoothly -- and migrating people is no different. We have to create a pathway for folks in operations to control their own destiny and achieve success," says Fourtney.
According to South China Morning Post, Europe bought 50,000 industrial robots in 2015, whereas sales in the U.S., Canada and Mexico only reached 34,000 sales combined. Grey Orange, an Indian company who specializes in assisting factories with robotic inventions (see video below), has seen the benefit of working alongside the Chinese and have moved into the market to hopefully get a slice of the automation market that is booming there. A market that trumped the rest and purchased 66,000 industrial automation robots in 2015.
The butler systems are given commands by a human, and according to the video, teaching a human how to direct these robots to do the hard work is not difficult. The Industrial Internet of Things will be bringing the robot revolution, but perhaps it won't take as many jobs as we once thought.