Industry 4.0, paving opportunities for different careers.

By Marcosiris A. O. Pessoa, Laboratory Specialist, Researcher, University of São Paulo

Industry 4.0 (I4.0) is known as the 4th industrial revolution, despite the term having initially appeared in Germany, and several other countries were already carrying out projects with similarities, most countries accepted the term. We can say that I4.0 is supported by 9 pillars and also by other Enabling Technologies, as shown in the figure, as we are still in the midst of research, implementation, and governmental efforts in the world as a whole for its effective implementation, there is no doubt that other pillars may appear. However, these nine pillars are already able to provide several job opportunities for many people from all over the world.

Industry 4.0 Pillars

The phrase “Data is the new oil” was introduced by Clive Humby in 2006, imagine how many possibilities and how much “oil” we have with I4.0 implementations. It is important to realize that the “oil”, without being extracted and treated, does not have the same value for the market, the same happens with the Data. The integration between some of these 9 pillars can already generate a huge amount of information (data), as at least we will have thousands of connected sensor equipment, using the Industrial Internet of Things with Cybersecurity sending data via Cloud Computing. This basic framework for I4.0 alone can involve a lot of money and the need for skilled people for these integrations. The availability of data in the cloud already allows the use of other concepts such as Big Data Analytics, and the use of Artificial Intelligence to start the treatment, and we can even say start to “monetize” the data. This beginning can already change the way of analyzing several other systems, such as quality systems, maintenance and production monitoring, and others; it has the possibility of reflecting a lot on the sustainability part, as it allows a more efficient and rational use of industrial resources.

The simulation part can open several vacancies for Digital Twin designers, that is, the person who will be able to virtualize the current designs of production systems, in addition to increasing the demand for specialists in simulations with the concept of I4.0. This new type of simulation can also allow managers to be able to test ideas or new projects without having actually to modify the factory floor; everything can be validated digitally beforehand. I myself used this simulation part a lot together with Digital Twins, Internet of Things, Systems Integration, and Cloud in research I carried out in 2017-2018 between the Escola Politécnica of the University of São Paulo (EPUSP) in Brazil with the University of New South Wales in Sydney- Australia, I spent a year in Australia with a Scholarships abroad – Research provided by The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). In this research, I did cross-continental tests, integrating virtualized equipment (in Sydney-Australia and in Santa Catarina, Brazil) and real equipment from our laboratory at EPUSP with the SAP IoT Cloud Platform. The project was challenging because we didn’t have easy integration systems, and we didn’t have a lot of information on the subject in 2017; it took more than 6 months to be able to integrate the virtualized model with SAP, that is, the Digital Twin, however after this initial integration, and learning, it took only four hours to integrate the real legacy system in Brazil with SAP IoT Cloud Platform, after this integration we can say that we were able to extract the data to process, generating value in the information.

As for the augmented reality (AR) part, an interactive experience between the real environment and a digitized environment, which can be used through normal cell phones or special glasses, also offers multiple possibilities for use and job vacancies, how it can be used in quality systems, maintenance, shop floor safety, management and others. Augmented reality can allow a company to increase work shifts at scale for sectors where there was no possibility of flexibility, thus generating a better quality of life for its employees. As an example, we can use the maintenance department where it is necessary to have different types of specialized technicians in a company, but they are there for safety reasons, and ideally, it is not necessary to use them, as this could indicate a broken machine, which is not it’s good for production. The number of technicians physically in the company may decrease, and the rest may be working remotely, assisting their homes. To use these types of applications in maintenance, it is very important to perform a risk analysis before the actual application of the system.

In the case of autonomous robots, the focus of I4.0 is not to replace humans with robots, but rather that they work in collaboration. In this way, there may be chances of increased demand for vacancies for specialists in these types of robots.

Countries and companies that realize the importance of the subject and start putting Industry 4.0 into practice as soon as possible have great chances of monetizing information sooner and bringing returns to people and their societies. People must be prepared for this new reality and demand; therefore, they must have alternative training on the subject to take advantage of all opportunities.


Figure taken from: Butt, J. Exploring the Interrelationship between Additive Manufacturing and Industry 4.0. Designs 2020, 4, 13.