Economy News

Unilever, ReNew get WEF support for Industry 4.0

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, encompasses increased automation, enhanced production processes, and the emergence of new products and services.

Global Lighthouse Network, an initiative by the World Economic Forum (WEF) aimed at fostering the adoption of fourth industrial revolution technologies within production networks, has successfully guided 15 manufacturing sites in India to transition to cutting-edge global technologies.

“Globally there are 153 Lighthouse locations of which 15 are in India and they include names in the cutting edge of manufacturing like ReNew Energy and Unilever,” head of the WEF’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Supply Chain Kiva Allgood told FE.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, encompasses increased automation, enhanced production processes, and the emergence of new products and services. It revolves around four disruptive technology pillars: connectivity, data, computation power, and analytics and intelligence.

The 153 global lighthouse locations—which have adapted to Industry 4.0—are across 17 sectors and all of them have shown performance improvement across multiple parameters , Allgood, who is also a member of WEF executive committee, said.
“After adoption of new technologies and systems, the 153 Lighthouse locations have reported 23% reduction in operating costs on an average. This reduction went up to 70% in some cases,” she said.

These technologies include robotics that involves the integration of mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning, to create machines that can sense, reason and act in the physical world. It also involves cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things which is a new mode for human-machine interaction.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution also includes use of stand-alone renewable energy systems, such as solar, wind, wave, hydroelectric and the electric batteries.

The fourth industrial revolution technologies have also resulted in 25% improvement in energy efficiency and reduction in design iteration time by 98%. Design Iteration basically is a repeated process of improving the product or a part of the product in short regular stages.

Allgood said that 13 lighthouses or manufacturing locations have used fourth industrial revolution technologies to get to net zero emissions. The success in achieving sustainability goals through these technologies can also help as more and more countries move to impose carbon tax in their efforts to meet their net-zero commitments.

She said though the latest technologies in manufacturing may sound complex they are relevant for all kinds of manufacturing operations—even the small and medium units. They do not need replacement of existing machines or large investments and even legacy systems can be converted to processes of the fourth industrial revolution, Allgood added.

The Lighthouse Network invites applications from across the world every year to select manufacturing locations for hand holding. “There are 10 million manufacturing locations in the world so the task ahead is big. The lighthouse programme aims to pull 100 of applications from India,” Allgood added.

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