The Emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and ‘Industry 4.0’ are the latest buzzwords featured prominently in the media. They refer to the technological revolution that has been predicted to “fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another”. The theory gained further momentum after it become a focal point of discussion at the recent World Economic Forum (WEF).
The theory was originally presented by Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman of the WEF. According to Schwab, technological change will be the driving force of this new age.
Looking Back into the Past
Industrial revolutions for the past three centuries have involved some of the most profound, radical changes in society, technology and business. But, the real question now is how will the fourth industrial revolution affect these this decade?
To understand the effects of the fourth industrial revolution, or digital manufacturing as it’s also referred to, it’s fundamental to recognise the history of industrialisation itself. The first two industrial revolutions were characterised by mechanisation and electrification, respectively. Likewise, the third was characterised by the emergence of communication technologies to automate production.
Now a fourth industrial revolution (4IR) is accelerating at an exponential rate, and building on the third. Industry 4.0 is centred on the concept of “blurring the real world with the technological world”. This incorporates automation, data exchange and manufacturing technologies. Additionally, it encompasses the ‘Internet of Things’, and cyber-physical systems.
Challenges and Opportunities
Similar to past revolutions, the fourth revolution brings with it significant challenges. Fundamentally, if these challenges can be managed successfully, there is an inherent opportunity for businesses throughout the world.
For instance, there is an opportunity to radically transform the efficiency of organisations. The supply chain could also be revolutionised due to emerging technologies.
The WEF reports that by 2022, 1 trillion sensors will be connected to the internet, unleashing a torrent of data. The internet of things will also give greater visibility, and accuracy across the whole supply chain. This will enable businesses to identify and pinpoint potential issues throughout their processes, and deal with them accordingly.
Industry 4.0 and Food and Drink Manufacturers
The benefits of 4IR technology adoption for manufacturing will be widespread. In a report by EEF, they anticipate that Industry 4.0 will lead to smarter supply chains, smarter production and smarter products.
One industry that could benefit considerably from the implementation of the revolution is the Food and Drink sector. More than ever, food industry manufactures are maximising flexibility and standardisation. This will be greatly enhanced with Industry 4.0. Because of the greater flexibility, this will enable bespoke production. It will also allow manufactures to quickly adapt to customers changing product specifications.
The constant pressure on costs in the food and drink industry means it’s already accustomed to innovating. So, it’s likely to willingly embrace the revolution. This is due to the new paradigm comprising of new business models, and the requirement for adaptation and innovation.
Likewise, it’s an industry where the requirement for liquid lot traceability is embedded throughout the production chain. And many manufactures are already utilising machines that are interconnected and achieving data. Again, this will only be enhanced with industry 4.0.
Where Does Pigging Fit in?
So, what has the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ got to do with what pigging does?
Pigging is an innovative technology that has been long established, since the early part of the 20th century. It has greatly advanced over the years from basis equipment used to clean oil pipes, to the automated industrial product recovery and liquid transfer technology used today.
Pigging is already in wide use. However, it’s becoming more widespread in many industries including food and drink, pet food, chocolate and confectionery, cosmetics and personal care, household product manufacture, and many more.
More than ever, automatic pigging solutions are becoming predominant in new implementations. HPS has developed and written fully flexible, robust pigging control systems and software. Our highly-experienced professionals can supply standalone control systems. They can also effectively integrate other process systems seamlessly.
In the future, just like other technologies, industrial process pigging systems will be influenced, changed, or be part of, the latest industrial revolution.
Find Out More
HPS provides a wide range of pipeline pigging products, services and equipment for liquid product recovery, product transfer, pipeline cleaning and hygienic (sanitary) pigging systems. We are innovative, and imaginative in all that we do. We are continuously striving to introduce new ways of working. We also aim to develop new products, and processes that will deliver real benefit to our customers.
To find out more about pigging and liquid product recovery systems for process industries, please contact HPS.