During times of uncertainty such as the present ones, where COVID-19 emergency is bringing down the whole World's economic system and altering people's habits, it seems clear how, in the near future, Internet of Things - Industry 4.0 will play a fundamental role for industries' growth and management, not only in the manufacturing field.
Several businesses' production downtime, following government provisions on closure of non-core activities, has caused a severe economic loss for those companies that haven't implemented their production lines with digital technologies (Italy estimates -15% of GDP in the first half year).
The sanitary emergency has, thus, accelerated the use of new technologies and supported a main focus for enterpreneurs to integrate such technologies in their manufacturing system.
If smartworking may sound like the first “vaccine” for companies to counteract businesses' closure, it is increasingly evident how necessary it is to real-time remotely manage entire production lines through digital solutions and platforms, up to perform preventive and predictive machinery maintenance, thus reducing production downtime resulting in higher efficiency.
All this while fully safeguarding operator's safety and security.
A recent publication by Milan Polytechnic has nonetheless underlined the existing gap between large companies and SME in terms of both knowledge and launched projects involving Industry 4.0. If 97% of large companies know IoT solutions for Industry 4.0 and 54% of them have launched at least one project pertinent to it, only 39% of SME have heard about such solutions and only 13% of them have launched some sort of initiatives (for further details, see https://www.osservatori.net/it_it/osservatori/comunicati-stampa/mercato-italiano-internet-of-things-valore-trend-crescita-2019-comunicato)
Both large companies and SME launching projects based on new digital technologies have observed an improvement in their efficiency, together with a corporate image enhancement towards all of their stakeholders.
Last but not least, the transformation of productive processes through Industry 4.0 involves EU Directive 2006/42/CE (Machinery Directive), as it shall take into account both changes and sets of problems regarding products' safety, which stem from such technological progress.
In such a scenario named “Phase 2”, Faentia Consulting is a partner for businesses that want to undertake this now unavoidable technological leap, towards new digital technologies, always in compliance with mandatory standards (CE Marking and others).
Engineer Claudio Barone
Product Safety Analyst
Faentia Consulting Srl