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Industry 4.0 and the “Extraordinary Factory”

Agritech - Foodprocessing - Energy - Building - Industry & Supply Chain - Transport - AI - IoT - Robotics - 2018/12/04

A conversation with Denis Lapoire, VP for Training and Research at Aquitaine Robotics, after visiting the Usine Extraordinaire (‘Extraordinary Factory’) event.

Industry 4.0 is all about streamlining the manufacturing/production process and the supply chain by incorporating new technologies such as sensors, IoT, informatics, digital, AI, connectivity, 3D printing, robotics and others. Industry 4.0 is obviously highly technological, with an aim of efficiency, and humans may or may not be physically present in the process. It involves practical execution of manufacturing. Optimization does not only mean improved productivity, of course. By focusing on humans, Industry 4.0 above all helps to eliminate overly strenuous or mind-numbing work.

The “Extraordinary Factory” offers a broader vision with 5 key focuses on:

  • A system of human communities undergoing transformation
  • A relationship between industry and nature in which restraint is vital
  • Technology that serves humans
  • A cultural phenomenon that should build bonds with creative industries and artists
  • Reinvention of experiences and uses

It is rooted in an ecosystem that encompasses Industry 4.0 while emphasizing the values of invention, sharing, respect for the finite natural world and people’s lifestyles. The entire ecosystem is involved in the transformation process. Thus, Industry – in addition to transforming – will help to redefine our lifestyles. Pierre Antoine Chardel of LASCO, the Laboratory for Meaning and Understanding of the Modern World (LAboratoire Sens et COmpréhension du monde contemporain) underscores the fact that “every technology helps to shape the way we live and our relationships with others.”

Denis and I then imagined the key components of the Extraordinary Factory, beyond those of Industry 4.0.

An Extraordinary Factory would be designed, renovated and extended to include 5 major spaces:

1. The fundamentals of Industry 4.0, of course, as well as

2. A guided tour, for the general public and school groups, that looks into the factory while it is running, so that these audiences can learn about the industrial process, its jobs, its challenges and ways to co-build new, more sustainable lifestyles. Toyota’s Nagoya factory includes a “Toyota Kaikan” exhibition, available in 3D on its website, and offers factory tours by simple request.

3. A Fab Lab, so that we are not only consumers, but also skilled users, of new technologies.

4. A training center combining scholars and professionals, to help support the transformation of various professions, through classroom and digital learning. Michelin’s Hall 32  is one of France’s finest examples of such an initiative. 7-Shapes already offers training programs, based on serious games, for industrial professions. In South Korea, DMBH has created the KSS-1500 industrial robot that is fully programmable and can be disassembled, with the related online courses available in English.

5. An industrial accelerator to enable the hardware innovations of French start-ups and SMEs to cross the innovation Valley of Death, from prototype to industrial production, while remaining in France. Here, the EFI Automotive group can testify to the ways that AXANDUS has positively impacted innovation.

Let’s take an active interest in the methods and practices used by our industries. Let’s invent and build an “Extraordinary World” that is both inclusive and responsible, transforming our industries and our professions, as well as our lifestyles and our relationships, thanks to Industry 4.0 technologies.

Photo credit : / Sebastien D’halloy

Catherine Simon -

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