The fourth industrial revolution is leading to what is called the Smart Factory (defined as Industry 4.0 in Germany). This consists of a computerised version of the factory where all of its processes are connected and interact with each other. The main features of these factories are:
- Flexibility: the production means allow the product, amount and time frame to be adapted to the customer’s needs.
- Intelligence: the machines and devices are sensitive to the environment, adapting to changing conditions, making decisions and assisting in complex tasks, including self-maintenance tasks.
- Connectivity: the elements are constantly connected with each other and with people, both locally and remotely.
- Collaboration: the spaces are shared between people and machines, with total security.
- Awareness of the environment: thanks to the addition of sensors and computer vision cameras.
The challenge posed by this new industrial revolution lies in software development, mass data analysis systems and their storage, the inclusion of sensors and electronics in the elements that interact in the production processes and in the products derived from the same, the co-existence of humans and machines and the availability of enriched information for improved and accurate decision making.
While industry accounts for 24% of the Basque Country’s gross added value (compared to 19% from EU15), this entails more than 90% of exports and around 40% of total R & D expenditure. Given the relative significant amount of specialisation of the Basque economy in the industry, it is essential for it to become more competitive, not only for the survival of businesses, but also for the progress of our society.
The aim of Tknika’s Industry 4.0 Porject is to identify, dominate and develop technology for those environments on which Industry 4.0 (Collaborative Robotics, Computer Vision, Cyber-physical systems, Communications, etc.) is based. This involves working in a network with the different vocational training centres and in collaboration with local companies, enabling these technologies to be made available to SMEs through vocational training centres. This is in line with the 4th Vocational Training Basque Plan, the ultimate purpose of which is to enhance Basque human capital and employability by improving their skills and knowledge, with a commitment to specialisation and the development of new sectors, such as Industry 4.0.