The world of industry is undergoing a revolution. The fourth industrial revolution has been a subject of discussion for the past 15 years but the COVID pandemic has only heightened the necessity to assimilate and implement technological innovation in industry
The first industrial revolution utilized water and steam power to mechanize production. The second industrial revolution harnessed electricity to enable mass production. The third industrial revolution focused on electronic components and information technologies to further advance automated manufacturing. The fourth industrial revolution is the digital revolution that integrates the physical and the digital worlds and allows to gather and analyze data, and even for robots to make decisions on behalf of humans. The immediate significance of this revolution for factories is increased productivity, lower production costs, and optimization of all the relevant operational indices including workers’ safety, product quality, and more. The advantages are immense, and a fifth industrial revolution is already being discussed, the focus of which is personalization and tailoring of systems to the specific needs of each factory.
In recent years, many new technologies have been introduced into the world of manufacturing, including smart optimization and predictive solutions that lead to enhancement of operation and maximization of value during the production process. These technology-based solutions, such as the Internet of Things, robots, and cobots for the manufacturing industry, use thousands of data units to produce insights that facilitate predictive maintenance and help factories adapt their supply and logistical processes.
In a world of global competition, every local factory requires innovation to create technological differentiation vis-à-vis competitors, both in Israel and abroad. A smart factory that applies advanced manufacturing processes and combines them with advanced data technologies, can enhance the technological differentiation of its products and the operational efficiency of its production processes. In Israel, there is a noticeable and growing openness to applying innovation procedures in industry. This openness is expressed in the growth of advanced technology companies in advanced manufacturing fields, and in profound changes in the products of the manufacturing industry, from food to the production of aviation parts from advanced materials.