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What is Industry 4.0? New Trends for Motors, Generators, Pumps, and More

Mike Jeffries | January 25, 2021

Design and innovation is alive and well and there are some areas of industrial technology that have seen exponential growth and development in 2020.

Given the current state of affairs, that would be rather difficult to conceive. But thanks to the fourth industrial revolution, it would seem that there are several areas between tech and manufacturing that are about to go through some significant changes. And changes for the better.

So, for the purpose of this post, let's take a look at just exactly what the fourth industrial revolution is and how it is affecting the trends of today's current electric motor market.

Related Blog: Key Components of Your Industrial Control Panel Identified and Explained

What is Industry 4.0?

Basically, industry 4.0 is the call sign for the fourth industrial revolution. The best way to describe this, is by this direct quote from Bernard Marr of Forbes magazine:

"From the First Industrial Revolution (mechanization through water and steam power) to the mass production and assembly lines using electricity in the second, the fourth industrial revolution will take what was started in the third with the adoption of computers and automation and enhance it with smart and autonomous systems fueled by data and machine learning."

In layman terms, it is simply a point in which we will further integrate computers and big data with the internet of things into today's modern machinery and manufacturing facilities.

Electric Motors and Their Place in Industry 4.0

At some point between technology and machinery will be electric motors. As industry 4.0 gains ground and finds its footing, be prepared to see many changes to the world of electric motors.

No other place can you find such design and innovation as it is in the auto industry. Electric motors and different configurations thereof are the reason and the foundation of all electric vehicles. 

As we get smarter with our tech and data solutions, so too shall we see the evolution of the electric motor into a very viable and sustainable alternative for their gas burning counterparts. 

As we develop bigger and better AI and computerized controls for electric motors, the manufacturing industry will embark on massive change as well. The old saying of working smarter not harder has never been as true as it is where industry 4.0 is concerned with the types of electric motors we will design and implement.

Robotics and Electric Motors

Another area of growth would be that of robotics. As more and more manufacturers make the move to robotics, we in-turn will need to stay on the cutting edge of electric motor engineering to keep up with the demand for more efficient robotic designs.  

From delicate pieces to larger welded pieces, robotics are going to need a full range of electric motors to fill those assembly lines so that those electric cars can be built. 

Electric motors have also been in high demand this year particularly in the medical field. And until we get a handle on our current situation there is going to be a constant need for these medical device electric motors as well as those robotics for their assembly.

It has often been said that necessity is the mother of invention. Our needs have changed. Electric motors have been around for a century now and based on our current needs these motors will undergo quite a makeover in industry 4.0

If time travel were possible, it would stand to reason that our grandfathers and great-grandfathers probably wouldn't recognize the 'new face' of the old electric motor!

Industry 4.0 and The Trends for Pumps

So, here we are in the beginning of industry 4.0, or the 'fourth' industrial revolution. Think for a moment about the first three industrial revolutions. With each and every revolution we see things that evolve into the standard. Remember how the jump from analog to digital made industry leaders' jaws drop? That's the kind of revolution the fourth one is...jaw dropping.

It is basically this, if you can conceive it you can achieve it. 

In this post, we are going to look at the trends for industrial pumps as they too make their way into industry 4.0

Industrial Pumps 'Get Smart'

Thanks to things like going digital, the internet, cloud computing and AI interfaces pumps and pump systems have become extremely more efficient and more reliable in the ways in which they operate. These 'smart pumps' that are specifically designed for industry 4.0 allow the operator to quickly recall such data as history, their condition and any information that concerns their operation. 

When you combine these pumps with standardized interfaces, they are then allowed to network with other devices and other systems and you have the foundation for a 'smart factory.'

These integrated systems allow the operator the ability to target specific pumps or pump processes for things like operation history, scheduled maintenance, integration of other smart technology systems or to just simply maintain a more efficient output for longer periods of time.

Since the ability to have any type of app created for any type scenario you can essentially run one of these systems via your smartphone! Most of the interfaces for these systems come with those apps already installed in the system operating software.

Another big selling point to the smart pump set is their ability to monitor themselves and adjust output and pressures autonomously. It is further reported that these pump sets are far less likely to fail, causing costly downtime and missed production numbers.

Industry 4.0 Industrial Pumps and AI

In today's competitive marketplace, any time that you can gain efficiency in your operations is a huge plus.  The 'smart pumps' that will be integrated into your manufacturing facility will allow you to do just that when you implement Artificial Intelligence as a significant part of your smart pump system.

Take these smart pumps that are already running more efficiently right out of the box and add to their functionality the ability to 'learn exactly what and how they are supposed to operate. This can be achieved by using an AI and cloud based platform.

Artificial Intelligence allows the pump to detect anomalies and adjust accordingly. Artificial Intelligence can also anticipate and address problems in output and pressures before they arise.

Then you add in cloud based computing, and at your fingertips you have the data from the exact same pump operating in a like facility halfway around the world. Suppose for a moment that this other pump is operating more efficiently, your AI system can then use that cloud data to implement the same operating pattern to benefit your facility.

Industry 4.0 truly is an amazing array of tools that can ultimately lead your company to a better bottom line.

Many of these features are already installed in your controls and in your software, it is just a matter of turning them on!

Industry 4.0 has had a tremendous effect on how industrial pumps are operated and the enhancements aren't just limited to motors and pumps.  The way in which these types of facilities use sensors, micro-switches, relays, and optical sensing equipment has also been elevated to facilitate some of these tools and procedures.

Yes, it is safe to say that the current trend for industrial pumps in the industry 4.0 realm is on the cutting edge of design and innovation.

Industry 4.0 Trends for Generators

In the first 2 industrial revolutions, the history books tell us that mechanized assembly lines began to dot the industrial landscape. The factories that once depended on 'assembly by hand' were made far more efficient by implementing machinery that was primarily powered by electricity and some by steam.

Then you factor in the advent of a more efficient telegraph network with the ever evolving railroad industry and it seemed the only prerequisite for an assembly plant was to have a readily available power source. 

Some things never change.

Even today, some 100 to 150 years later, there still needs to be a power source. So, as we now find ourselves in the fourth industrial revolution, or industry 4.0 as it is being referred to, these new 'smart factories' need not only a power source but the ability for that source to be uninterrupted.

The Next Generation Generator

Generators both commercial and residential have witnessed exponential growth in the last decade. Catastrophic events such as hurricanes and tornadoes have had a very positive impact on generator sales and installations across the US, Europe, and Asia.

Generators have become much more efficient at what they do and the trends for the future of generators, both residential and commercial, are right on track. 

Smart 'Gen-Sets'

As industry 4.0 begins its hold on the manufacturing world, there is a new demand for 'Smart' generator sets. That is, generator sets that are large enough and powerful enough to power the needs of an entire manufacturing plant.

Industry 4.0 uses a lot of new smart tech such as Wi-Fi and cloud computing. Being able to use this technology with the more efficient operating Gen-Sets, a plant can not only keep the plant operating during power outages, but they can also identify other Gen-Sets operating half-way around the world and mirror their efficiency and output. 

And who knows what the next generation of commercial generators will be capable of when they begin to use quantum computing as part of their operating platform.

This also bodes well for the third-world and those underdeveloped areas that are beginning to look at ways to bring power to every nook and cranny of the planet!

EV Batteries and Smart 'Gen-Sets'

Another constantly evolving area is the new technology being used in developing batteries for the electric car market. 

These batteries are being designed to charge faster, last longer, and produce a higher output of power. Some of the newest technology couples these batteries with smart 'Gen-Sets' to create a generator platform that not only operates more efficiently, but is virtually silent in their operation. These commercial applications can also tell when and where there is a need for more power, or when it would be more cost effective to operate off the grid such as during night shifts.

From 'Steam Clouds' to The Computing 'Cloud'

In the second industrial revolution, manufacturing came to virtually any area with a water supply to create steam as a power source. Now, 150 years later, we have capabilities of providing unlimited, uninterrupted power thanks to these smart generators and their ability to seek out more inventive ways to do what they do. 

The generator market for 2020 and beyond is only going to get bigger and better. These power supplies need only to be interfaced with the ability that allows them to 'think' and be one step ahead of the needs of their facility.

When you stop for a moment and think about all the negative things that 2020 has held, it is nice to see something that is actually growing at an exponential rate.

Industry 4.0’s Impact on Controls & Automation

There is no doubt whatsoever that the fourth industrial revolution, or industry 4.0, is going to change the face of the way we operate and maintain every aspect of commercial manufacturing. From the very simple to the overly complex industry 4.0 has ushered in an unprecedented era of high tech design and innovation.

By using applications such as AI and cloud computing, the manufacturing industry is being revamped from the ground up. There are vast improvements on the horizon for everything from how a plant is laid out, to how we can squeeze every ounce of efficiency from every corner of those facilities.

And all indications from industrial market experts suggest that the first step in these changes will definitely be in how well we control and automate. Those companies that place more emphasis on designing better ways to control and automate their plant are the ones who will see growth and sustainability throughout this fourth industrial revolution.

In a recent article from the website Controls, Drives, and Automation we can take an in-depth look at where this area of industry 4.0 is headed with the trends for 2020 and beyond. According to this information, another area of groundbreaking technology will be the implementation of robotics into the mix.

Let's take a look at where all of this is going.

Controlling and Automating Machine Data in Real Time

The gathering and processing of data is big business. The next generation of smart controllers will allow the human counterpart as well as the AI counterpart to compile a large quantity of data from each piece of machinery to create a data bank. This data bank will allow the facility to operate more efficiently by predicting such needs ahead of time like when to perform maintenance or to reroute processes for broken machinery replacements.

These smart controllers will allow the machine to learn through both human interface and AI to increase output. Also, by using these combined methods of controlling machinery, there will be a more elaborate window to observe the quality of the finished product and where and when to adjust for the maximum quality output.

When the AI function begins to learn from all of this real time data, algorithms are then used to see where the most efficient areas of automation are and where they can be improved upon.

As more facilities begin to explore a combination of both automation and robotics this allows the human factor to play a larger role in the data collection process thereby giving the AI controls more and better opportunities to increase production.

Higher Output Through Self-Learning Automation

By using AI with the cloud, manufacturing could essentially be on the verge of creating a perfect assembly line. When a particular process runs perfectly smooth for a given time period, these smart controllers with their data interfaces have a 'standard' in which they try to mirror with each lot that is processed.

At any given point in the run of the lot, the lot being run is compared to the 'standard'. By using the learned AI algorithms. Adjustments can be made in real time without the need of stopping the line to make the necessary adjustments, saving valuable time while ensuring consistency in the finished product.

If you have any questions about pumps or motors and how they’re evolving in industry 4.0, contact Mader Electric today to speak with a member of our expert team.

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Topics: industrial pump, prevent industrial pump from needing repair, pump repair, control, motor and pump service center

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