Welcome to Industry 5.0 - The Human Touch revolution is under way
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At Hannover Messe 2017, like at industrial trade shows and in manufacturing industry publications around the world, the predominant theme was Industry 4.0. Although Industry 4.0 still has not scaled up to cover a significant percentage of manufacturing setups, its vision of near-total automation – and the promise of resulting cost savings – has clearly captured the industry’s imagination.
More importantly, even though the “lights out” factory is still a rare phenomenon, the connected automation technologies that form the backbone of Industry 4.0 are seeing widespread and growing deployment. And they are making important differences in the manufacture of many types of products and, in industries like healthcare, even the provision of services.
The role of robots The use of robots in manufacturing has been on the rise since the 1960s, when they were first introduced as part of what technologists call Industry 3.0 (defined by programmable logic and advanced manufacturing). Robots grew up in the car industry, where they were used primarily to weld car bodies together. As technologies matured, robots began seeing use in other areas, such as logistics, and the medical and food industries. 2006 was the first year more robots were used outside the automotive industry than inside.
The main driver behind the rise of industrial robots is said to be a desire to reduce or eliminate the “Three D’s” – dull, dangerous and dirty jobs. But other important drivers included the need for consistency of quality and consistency of flow in manufacturing.