The Factory of the Future?

Rexroth’s award-winning Industry 4.0 assembly line is using the smart factory technology of the future today. They’ve produced a video that gives us a better look at the approach.

It’s energy efficient, practical, clean, way more accurate than humans, and — well, not really the technology of the future. The line was created as a concept for trade shows last year, and described then as “realistic.” Now, it’s real.

That doesn’t mean it will coming to a factory near you soon.

One of the biggest problems in the implementation of smart factory systems is communication. Newsweek described the connected industry process like this: “An automobile bonnet rolls up to the paint machine and tells it, ‘I should be white’; the next one sends the message to paint it blue.”

In most factories, though, the paint machine is, to continue the analogy, expecting a capot de voiture that wants to be blanche and another that wants to be bleue. Without standardization, the various machinery in a factory can’t communicate because they don’t speak the same languages.

Rexroth is working on this issue with standardized, open source systems that all companies can use going forward. But this brings up another concern: security.

Open source systems worry companies because it is theoretically possible that hackers could study them and identify vulnerabilities. However, open source with a strong community also means that vulnerabilities are identified and corrected more quickly.

Still, manufacturers have been guarding their secrets for centuries, and the idea of sharing is daunting. What’s more, once the machines are communicating directly with one another, it is theoretically possible that people could miss a breach and not discover it until it was too late.

Some good movie plots in that.

Industry 4.0 is on its way. Meanwhile, we are your best source for support when it comes to Rexroth electronic products.

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