The science fiction of a few years ago imagined a highly technological 21st century, with flying cars and humanized robots, among many other features.
Now that we are nearing the end of the first quarter century, we can see that expectations were perhaps too high regarding the timescale, but perhaps not regarding the form.
The disruption of industry 4.0 and digitalization
The first step to reach that iconic future is what we are witnessing at this very moment with digitalization and Industry 4.0 (also known as integrated industry). These phenomena go hand in hand, since they involve the automation of productive processes through digital production networks.
Thanks to automation, production pro-cesses are cheaper, more efficient, and even beneficial for employees in that they reduce the risk of occupational injuries: the most difficult and repetitive activities are performed by machines.
The digitalization of the different production processes generates a stream of online data that are managed by sophisticated tools that help in the decision making process.
Impact of digitization on industry
Industry 4.0 technologies are revolutionizing industry as we have known it up to now:
- All participants in the factory processes are connected to each other on a network and operate with each other thanks to real time data transmission.
- Despite all the interconnectivity, each process operates autonomously.
- By working autonomously and cooperatively at the same time, large amounts of data can be collected to monitor, control and optimize processes.
Digitalization not only affects the internal structure of the company and the way people work, but also the structure of the market itself.
Main sectors that benefit from digitalization
Industry 4.0 and the digitization of industrial processes benefit certain industries by bringing particular technological improvements:
- Automotive. Robotization facilitates repetitive and non-ergonomic tasks, making it possible for robots and humans to work together.
- Light industry (warehousing, manufacture of consumer goods…) Collaborative robotics and artificial vision are applicable to tasks such as piece picking or barcode reading.
- Energy. Big Data allows optimization of the use of energy.
- Health. Digitalization improves internal logistics.
- Food and agriculture. Technology has helped improve quality.
- Iron and steel.
Robotic elements play an significant role at ULMA
That is also why we have totally automated forging lines — from mechanical and hydraulic presses and counter-blow hammers to rolling lines and totally robotized, high-production machining plants.
At ULMA, we look out for the safety of our workers and we believe in maintaining a professional work environment. For this reason, we have management systems based on strict quality standards that guarantee high-performance forged products.