Perhaps the most visible aspect of Industry 4.0 is the concept of the ‘smart factory’, a term that typically conjures up images of automated factories leveraging AI, big data and robotics to make manufacturing more efficient, innovative and smarter.
That’s a simple take on what in reality will be a complex undertaking that will be an evolutionary journey that manufacturers will take over the next decade or so. Consequently, it’s helpful to approach the smart factory concept in terms of what parts of the existing manufacturing process you want to make smarter, and the foundational technologies that will help you achieve that.
The answer will of course differ from one OEM to the next. But at a high level, much of the smart-factory paradigm starts with a robust high-performance computing (HPC) architecture that can support the AI that provides the “smart” part of the equation. That in turn puts an emphasis on things such as storage and green technologies to make data centers more energy-efficient. And all of this will take place in the context of digital transformation initiatives that will free up departmental data that will fuel intelligent-driven outcomes, resulting in a truly smart factory.
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