Predictions based on our Experience in Industry 4.0
As an international open innovation platform connecting startups with industry clients, we’ve got our finger on the pulse of industry and entrepreneurship in this region. We serve key Industries with leaders like Unilever, Mercedes-Benz, ITP Aero, Bridgestone, Siemens Gamesa, Ferrovial, Eroski, Natra, Coca-Cola European Partners, Quirónsalud, FAES Farma and so many others. Based on research as well as our 5 years as an Open Innovation and Acceleration Program, we have made some predictions for the trends we see ahead.
Investing in 4IR, Factories of the Future
The 4th Industrial Revolution is characterized by addressing the many challenges facing the manufacturing industry, with a major focus on optimizing production and streamlining processes. Advancements in technologies such as artificial intelligence-enabled solutions, IoT and industrial internet of things (IIoT), cybersecurity, robotics, artificial vision, nanotech, digital-twin, augmented or virtual reality (AR/VR) and additive manufacturing enable companies to take on these challenges. The BIND 4.0 program helps manufacturing, health, food and energy sector facilities to identify, contract and implement the most appropriate 4IR technologies.
Since 2016 BIND 4.0 has been attracting and connecting startups with state of the art technologies to work with industry leaders, our 57 corporate partners focused on digitalization and the 4IR. Here are the technologies we predict will become increasingly popular and necessary.
Top Trends in Industry 4.0 for 2021 and Beyond
AI – Artificial Intelligence Enabled Solutions
AI can be found in so many areas of business nowadays, but is only recently being implemented in the manufacturing industry and onto factory floors. AI is used to gather data, organize that data into useful information and learn from it to implement more informed decisions.
AI is used in big data analytics and can be implemented in ways like predictive maintenance in advanced manufacturing. Predicting maintenance of large, high volume machines means more insight and less downtime. AI is now being used in the health industry to help diagnose patients faster. AI is starting to be used in the food sector for retail analytics, to determine trends in sales, footfall, product stock, etc. There is great potential for AI-enabled solutions in more areas across all industries and what we’ve seen already is just the tip of the iceberg.
Enerlogix Systems implemented AI energy solutions with food sector Corporate Partner Okin
In the 2020 Edition of BIND 4.0, startup participant Enerlogix Systems was contracted by Okin to optimize energy efficiency. Their AI solutions add intelligence to energy systems integrating thermodynamics, machine learning, and real-time advanced controls. Find out more about the solutions they implemented this year, in their project demo day video here.
IoT, IIoT and IoE – Internet of Things, Industrial IoT and Internet of Everything
IoT applied to manufacturing has now become IIoT and what we will see in the years ahead is the internet of everything (IoE). IIoT allows sensors and adapters to be integrated onto shop floors and all stages of production. IoE combines real-time data from all areas of the factories and facilities, machine or artificial intelligence and human insight, resulting in more efficient and cost-effective manufacturing processes.
IIoT, Wireless Sensors and Smart Monitoring
In the latest edition of BIND 4.0, automotive leaders and advanced manufacturing pioneers, Mercedes-Benz, contracted IoT startup Nexmachina for their proprietary wireless gateway sensors and a cloud data platform to be applied to the digital transformation of devices and machines.
IIoT is making devices and existing machinery smarter by adding intelligent sensors and communication platforms. IIoT allows factories to gather more data and make more informed decisions and monitor on levels they hadn’t been able to prior. For this reason, we know IoE has great potential in the industrial arena for years to come.
Cybersecurity & Privacy
Due to more connected devices thanks to IIoT, as well as the covid-inspired transition to more remote working conditions, the vulnerabilities and thus need for security and privacy are higher than ever.
Research specialists, StartUs Insights said in their “Top 10 Industry 4.0 Trends For 2020 & Beyond” of Cybersecurity, Transparency and Privacy: “The flow of information due to the connectedness in Industry 4.0 is raising concerns about security, transparency, and privacy. As the manufacturing practices are increasingly becoming personal and customizable, the data management practices done outside and within the shop floor will hugely influence the appeal of the company. The transmission and processing of sensitive industrial data need to be done securely to avoid cyberattacks on critical industrial facilities. Digital ethics and privacy, privacy-enhancing technologies, self adaptive security, zero-trust security, end-to-end communication security, DevSecOps, blockchain are some of the new developments in this front.”
Cybersecurity is a Top Priority in Industry 4.0
Ironchip is a cybersecurity company helping large corporations take back control of their privacy and security. Ironchip worked with BIND 4.0 Corporate Partners Elecnor and Batz in the 4th edition of our acceleration program. Their high-end security solutions have been put in place for both OT access control and IT authentication. Providing reliable, accessible and customizable security solutions will continue to be a service in great demand for all industries.
Automation / Robotics / Machine Vision
The use of robotics has long been a method to increase productivity and to improve automation on a large scale. The trends that we see ahead will center around the use of robotics and cobot (collaborative human-robot) solutions in more and more areas.
Additionally, we predict an increase in the implementation of machine or computer vision to improve the accuracy of classification, verification and quality control along assembly lines for example. In our latest edition, Machine Vision technology was contracted for 8 different projects with Corporate Partners BTI, Egile Group, Maier, Angulas Aguinaga, Fagor Ederlan, Tubacex and Uvesco.
Ikustec is an engineering startup, specialized in artificial vision solutions aimed at meeting the needs of the different sectors in the manufacturing industry. In 2020, Ikustec used their AI-based artificial vision software to work with three Corporate Partners BTI, Egile Group, and Tubacex. Additionally, Ikustec develops, produces and distributes software for automated, precise 3D measuring systems.
AR / VR and XR Extended Reality
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) as well as what is being called Extended Reality (XR) are other trends allowing the industry to advance into the future. We’ve already seen AR/VR used in Research & Development, high-risk virtual training and even in the production processes. Just like the increased use of robotics, the nature of human-machine interactions in manufacturing is trending toward more machine-enabled workers and XR solutions allow companies to make those moves.
BIND 4.0 Startups have applied AR/VR solutions in all 4 editions
NeuroDigital Technology used virtual reality technology to create haptic gloves for our corporate partner OBE Hettich which can be used for training as well as allowing remote control of tools with high precision and accuracy.
BIND 4.0 Alumnus Innovae developed a maintenance assistance system based on augmented reality for ABB in the first edition of BIND 4.0. Innovae also worked with Corporate Partner Danobat to apply augmented reality and wearables to the machine tools manufacturing processes at one of Danobat‘s facilities.
Click here for a recap of all the ARVR projects BIND 4.0 has facilitated so far. Our consistent experience with startups in this field allows us to comfortably predict that the use of XR and ARVR will continue to rise in the year ahead.
Blockchain / Edge / Cloud Computing
In our 4 editions of BIND 4.0 so far, we have seen the increased use of cloud computing and distributed systems like blockchain across the Energy, Food, Health and Advanced Manufacturing industries.
According to StartUs Insights, “The immense amount of data being generated by the industrial internet of things (IIoT) is propelling the adoption of edge, fog, and cloud computing capabilities in Industry 4.0. Custom hardware and software solutions like connected clouds, distributed clouds, distributed compute and storage, hybrid computing, low code development platforms, microservices, mobile computing, and multi-access edge computing are shaping up this industry 4.0 trend.”
Additive Manufacturing / 3D Printing
Additive Manufacturing started out as a prototyping method but has steadily become an important part of the production process. Using Industrial 3D printers and industry-specific additives, allows companies to create low-cost products in a short period of time, with better design and faster than before.
In the 2020 edition of BIND 4.0, startup AddiFab used their proprietary ‘freeform’ injection molding process with BioTech / Health Tech Leaders BTI. With BTI they used ‘Freeform’ injection molding which allows for geometric freedom with medical grade materials. Their innovative method is merging two things: additive manufacturing (fast prototyping / low cost / quicker production times) and injection molding (low unit cost / industry-specific materials / short production time). All these advancements mean access to more materials, better designs, with faster launch times and production.
Additionally, their 3D printing insight and resources allowed Addifab to create a rapid response to Covid-19. Their access to injection molding allowed them to design, print and make an adapter for safety equipment enabling them to go from concept to product in 5 days. Rapid turnaround times and the ability to adjust additives and materials as needed, is why additive manufacturing is a clear trend for 2021 and beyond.
Knowledge Workers / New Professional Profiles to work with New Technologies
We have already seen the increase in the need for manufacturing companies to hire engineers and workers with targeted tech skills and training, with the capacity to manage the different digital control platforms, interpret data and make appropriate adjustments, and this is just the beginning.
Research and Consulting firm Forrester said, in their 2021 Predictions:
“In 2021, leading manufacturers will define a clear manufacturing process data strategy and aggressively invest in technologies such as unstructured content analytics, digital worker analytics, knowledge management solutions, industrial knowledge graphs, and reinforcement learning to enhance skills and encourage continuous learning, scaling industrial good practice, and fostering more innovation.”
Invest in Technology Together
As the research shows, the technologies ahead are advancing quickly and yet the 4th Industrial Revolution is just getting started. Companies that embrace the opportunities of an increasingly digital and virtual world, will do well to invest in these areas. BIND 4.0 brings together these cutting edge 4IR technologies and the current needs in industry, if you want to play a role, reach out to us for more information.