How Industry 4.0 Will Change Product Quality

By | Blog

One of the strongest contributors to the sustainable growth of a company is how well it can retain its customers. With customer acquisition costs ranging from a couple dollars to hundreds of dollars, it’s especially important for businesses to maximize the lifetime value they get from each customer. Thus, retention should be a business’ main focus when tackling long-term growth. Sustainable growth calls for an emphasis on customer satisfaction, and therefore, high product quality.

For companies that ship physical goods to their customers, product quality depends highly on their manufacturer partners. Poor product quality results in low customer satisfaction, refunds and returns, dissolved partnerships with distributors, and an overall nightmare for manufacturers. How do manufacturers swiftly detect and prevent product quality failure in their factories? This is where Industry 4.0 technology comes in.

In present-day manufacturing, plant managers experience challenges in detecting where production failure is taking place and may spend days or even weeks tracking down exactly which line is underperforming. One underperforming machine in a factory could result in hundreds of defective units and tension between manufacturers and customers.

Industry 4.0 advancement is meant to help manufacturers prevent product quality failure wherever possible. With the combination of articulate, data tracking IoT devices, analytics platforms, and cloud computing, plant managers, engineers, and supervisors can attain actionable and specific information about what’s happening in their factory at any given time.

How? Let’s talk about how Industry 4.0 technology helps prevent things like this from happening at your factory.

IoT – Real-Time Data Gathering

The backbone of Industry 4.0 technology consists of the IoT devices that are constantly gathering data from the machines and sensors they’re installed on. Most of these devices are installed in machines on a production line, where they will gather a multitude of data points such as time, speed, temperature, rates of production, product ID numbers, etc.

These data points are constantly gathered and sent to a secure, cloud database, housing every aggregate piece of information collected from that machine, in perpetuity. Since the value of data appreciates as more of it is gathered, using 3rd party services such as Oden, which stores unlimited data indefinitely, is a valuable investment that will help manufacturers compare and analyze production over longer periods of time.

Analytics – Clear & Actionable Data Insights

Industry 4.0 technology is providing a new wave of clearer and more concise data analytics platforms to complement its big data counterpart. Data is useless without the correct analytics tools to process that data, detect trends, and draw actionable insights from.

For example, if a plant manager needed to track where there a production line failure occurred, they could use an analytics platform to understand why it failed. Using Oden’s platform, manufacturers can track the exact time a particular faulty product was run, which machine is responsible for the particular failure, and all the performance metrics associated with that machine.

In the past, it could take plants hours, days, or even weeks to aggregate all the necessary information to track production line failure. Assuming plant employees are using a user-friendly platform like Oden’s, they can shorten this production line analysis time to mere minutes.

Cloud Computing – Flexible Monitoring

Since Industry 4.0 depends heavily on the power and scale of cloud computing, the technology allows every person in a factory (not just the managers or engineers) to have data at their fingertips. Data will no longer need to be stored locally in a factory’s network, with rising costs. It is already commonplace for advanced manufacturers to have access to their factory’s information, wherever they would like, through cloud storage.

In addition to the “big players” in a factory, employees down the authority ladder can also be granted limited access to information relevant and necessary to their particular daily tasks and job. This democratized data will give team members the ability to make actionable and swift decisions in response to real-time stimuli. The typical “top-down” methodology of information will soon become outdated as Industry 4.0 technology becomes mainstream.

To a manufacturer, maintaining product quality means everything. Your reputation depends on it! Often times it could be one of the biggest challenges as a manufacturer. Luckily, different technologies, like the ones listed above will change the way entire factories are managed. The best part is that this smart factory technology isn’t something that factory owners hope becomes mainstream in the next decade– it’s already possible to integrate this technology today. Oden’s IIoT platform offers everything discussed in this blog. Don’t wait to start collecting data today.

Industry 4.0 Misconceptions Debunked

By | Blog

In the world of manufacturing, there is plenty of skepticism surrounding Industry 4.0 technology. Will it live up to the hype? Is it too early to consider? Is the manufacturing industry really moving in this direction? As with any cryptic subject, there is also a list of misconceptions that arise due to skepticism. We feel that it’s time to address the objections to adopting advanced technology in manufacturing. Let’s talk about a couple Industry 4.0 misconceptions.



Misconception 1: “I should wait to start investing in Industry 4.0.”


This very well might be the most common misconception that manufacturers have about Industry 4.0. When any innovative technology is in its early stages, only a few invest in the technology before it becomes popular. These are known as the early adopters.

As with any investment, it’s only worth time and effort if the ultimate ROI is significant. Industry 4.0 is no different. What makes Industry 4.0 especially compelling for manufacturers is the value that data accumulates brings to a factory in the long-term. Data is the only asset that is guaranteed to appreciate over time. Since big data and data analytics are the backbones of Industry 4.0 technology, it’s especially beneficial for manufacturers to start investing today.


Because it can take a long time to create a full-fledged smart factory. In competitive markets like manufacturing, it’s vital to have the foresight to adopt new technology that will keep you ahead of your competition. By integrating smart factory technology and simultaneously adjusting your operations from the insights gleaned from those solutions, early adopters of Industry 4.0 technology will gain the competitive advantage over those who play ‘wait and see’.

Misconception 2: “It’s not worth making the difficult transition into smart manufacturing.”


Contrary to popular belief, taking the first steps to building a smart factory don’t have to be a painful, headache-filled process. With services like Oden, which makes data collection and hardware tech integration easy for manufacturers pressured to digitize, it’s become easier than ever to make the move.

When most people hear “Industry 4.0” or “smart factory” they picture an extremely expensive, entirely automated factory filled with machine-learning robots working 24/7. In reality, a smart factory can be achieved by simply connecting your existing equipment to IoT devices that capture data and installing software that provides analytics that shorten your time to resolution and production improvement.

If you implement Industry 4.0 technology today, you’ll benefit from it in both the short term, by making immediate production improvements, as well as in the future, when you are ready to adopt more technology into your factory. Manufacturers who start data collection now will also benefit from having years of data to train machine learning models on to make better, more informed decisions.

Misconception 3: “Industry 4.0 isn’t happening anytime soon.”


This simply isn’t true. In fact, PwC recently did a thorough study on Industry 4.0, in a global perspective, and published their findings in a 30+ page analysis. The PwC study even shows that 83% of manufacturers, in various industries and countries, believe that data analysis will become important to their operations by 2021. In fact, even General Motors, one of the dominating manufacturers in the automotive industry, has made moves to integrate data gathering systems into their operations. If that’s not enough proof that Industry 4.0 is coming to fruition, Oden is living, breathing proof that the manufacturing industry is leading the pack of Industry 4.0’s exponential growth.

Misconception 4: “It is difficult to learn about Industry 4.0.”

This one definitely has some merit to it. There are few resources circulating in the world of manufacturing that provide clear and concise information about Industry 4.0, which is the exact reason why we produce that content.

We’re trying to increase Industry 4.0 literacy through our weekly content because we believe that manufacturers looking to digitize shouldn’t be left in the dust of technological innovation. We want to provide the resources that will help them learn why the journey to digital manufacturing is important, inevitable, and easy to start today.


The path to maintaining technology advancement within a factory doesn’t have to be difficult for plant managers. Services like Oden are aiming to erase misconceptions about Industry 4.0, especially the misconception that transitioning to a smart factory isn’t worth the investment.

connected factory IoT sensors

Industry 4.0 In-Depth: Sensors and IIoT

By | Blog

connected factory IoT sensors

As Industry 4.0 technology increases in popularity, it’s vital that manufacturers understand the terms associated with it. However, vocabulary is only the tip of the iceberg. For any individual who wants to get ahead of the competition in their space, having a clear understanding of the technology they’re working with is just as fundamental. This is especially true for manufacturers who feel pressure to digitize. The Industry 4.0 space is a fairly complicated realm that involves a series of different, separate technologies coming together to build one aggregate system.

One way to think about Industry 4.0 smart factories is to view it as any other complex machine. Let’s use a computer as an example. Computers aren’t a single technology. Computers are the aggregate product of various different pieces of hardware like CPUs, GPUs, SSDs, and countless other elements. Industry 4.0 smart factories, like computers, aren’t a single piece of hardware– smart factories are the product of multiple components that are integrated together to build an efficient system.

Today, we’ll be talking about IoT and sensors, one of the most important terms to understand for manufacturers who aim to build a smart factory. Machine sensors aren’t anything new, but the development of devices that can extract information from these sensors is garnering a new age of information distribution and empowered decision making. In fact, Mark Cuban, a prolific investor in technology, says that sensors are indeed the future. Excited about IoT and sensors yet? We’ll break it down for you.

IoT and Sensors– What Are They?


IoT sensorsThe IoT (Internet of Things) is a term used to describe the collective number of hardware in the world that gathers data and is connected to some form of internet connection. A great way to think about the IoT is to imagine it like a giant web of devices that gather information and sometimes share that information with each other (depending on who owns them). Some of the devices in the IoT are cell-phones, laptops, and other devices that are commonly associated with the internet. However, sensors that exist within or added to factory equipment, make up 8+ billion of the IoT volume.

It is the adoption of smart devices, which extract the data from sensors, and gather the process metrics and calculate insights, that really provides the power in Industrial IoT. Industry 4.0 technology has become more useful and practical for manufacturers to leverage. Since smart devices gather various data points (temperature, humidity, production speed, etc.) they are especially important to engineers and operators. Advanced devices that calculate metrics, such as OEE and scrap, are the key to providing actionable information to the plant managers and executives of smart factories.

How do sensors and IoT relate to Industry 4.0?

sensors the cloud IoTMachine sensors connected to smart devices, in conjunction with the cloud, make up the IoT and serve as the backbone of Industry 4.0 technology. Everything starts with sensors, but without devices to gather information from wherever they’re placed, nothing else will work.

The long-term consequence that manufacturers who fail to digitize will face is the technical expenses they’ll incur by not integrating smart devices into their machines. It’s important to start as soon as possible. Rather than trying to retrofit their existing machines for PLCs and SCADA systems, or buying expensive new equipment, it’s more effective to invest in smart technology that can easily gather data from your existing machine sensors without additional upgrade expenses.

In the near future, at the peak of Industry 4.0 adoption, while every other manufacturer struggles to catch up, manufacturers who digitize today will be ahead in three ways.

  1. Early adopters will have more data to work off of and can make more informed decisions.
  2. The technology is already integrated into their operations. Early adopters will be able to leverage the technology better and more effectively than newbies.
  3. Since data is an asset that appreciates with time, they will have the benefit of compound interest. The more data a factory has accumulated, the better.

Why should manufacturers invest in Industry 4.0 technology today?

While it may seem burdensome for manufacturers to install smart devices into their already-functioning factory, they should invest in the long-term and start today. Eventually, all manufacturers will need to integrate this hardware into their factory because if they don’t, they will be at a heavy disadvantage against their competition.

Blockbuster didn’t see value in video-streaming on the Internet in 1990’s. On September 23, 2010, Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, having incurred $900 million in debt and outperformed by on-demand video streaming services. The same could easily happen to manufacturers who sit by idly while their competitors invest in the future (Industry 4.0 technology) and bring the smart devices to their factories. The solution? Become an early adopter.

fourth industrial revolution factory

This Month In Industry 4.0: Challenges, Solutions, and Megatrends

By | Blog

It’s no secret that the fourth industrial revolution is taking the world by storm. There are dozens of articles published each month regarding Industry 4.0 advancements, how it’s making an impact on the world, and how competitive manufacturers are implementing this technology in their plants to improve the performance of their workforce and to make more with less.

smart factory

The problem is that manufacturers have more pressing things to focus on like producing a quality product and improving operations, etc. They don’t have time to read dozens of news articles each month. In response to this need, we’ve decided to start this new blog series; This Month In Industry 4.0. We will talk about the most relevant technological improvements and news in the space and. While many news articles tend to be long-winded and wordy– none of that here. We’ll tell you what you should know in under 1,000 words. Let’s get started.

What’s In Store In the Fourth Industrial Revolution

According to Harry Armstrong, senior researcher of technology futures at Nesta (UK), cloud computing/IoT and data analytics aren’t the end game in Industry 4.0. Armstrong explains the ways that data can and will be used in smart factories to make more informed decisions and small adjustments that promote continuous improvement and long-term competitiveness. Although the future of Industry 4.0 is bright, the article also outlines potential challenges that the implementation of smart factory technology will face, including data security/privacy, worker displacement, and industry adoption.

fourth industrial revolution factory

Armstrong outlines the use of AI in tandem with cloud computing such that consumer devices would be able to gather data beyond factories. This would require factories to constantly gather data that is automatically sent to various databases, making cloud storage increasingly more appealing to manufacturers over data historians and in-house storage solutions. With providers such as the Google, investing billions in the security and scaling of their Google Cloud Platform, cloud storage is easily becoming the most cost-effective and secure database solution, alleviating the the burden of IT overhead from the factory.

As far as worker displacement, Armstrong explains that although some tasks will indefinitely be automated, robots won’t take every job, and decisions on how these automated processes will work still need humans– there are still jobs for factory workers. . We believe there will be plenty of them, which is why we created a product that is easy to use for workers of all skill levels. Armstrong says, “There’s a responsibility for companies and governments to design jobs in a way that technology complements them, rather than taking them over.” Industry adoption will gradually occur, and with CEOs and other leaders being under pressure to improve their operations, the need for more smart factory solutions will become apparent.

Why Industry 4.0 Is The Future Of Manufacturing

CXO Today touches on Industry 4.0’s adoption by taking a step back and analyzing the market data to see what is really trending in the manufacturing industry. By 2020, over 30 billion devices in the world will be connected to the Internet, with immense amounts of data generated each day, and growing. In addition, they mention four megatrends in relation to the future of manufacturing.

Trend 1: Demographic Shifts
With populations all around the world fluctuating, the future may seem difficult to predict. Although estimations on the growing middle class or the consumer market are debatable, one thing is for sure; investing in technology that amplifies the current workforce is an important value-add for any factory.

machine automation

Trend 2: Globalization of Future Markets
With productivity increasing heavily as smart factory technology is implemented in the coming years, worldwide exports are expected to triple by 2030. Developing countries and BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) will see an impressive GDP growth. MINT and MIST countries (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey, Nigeria) will also be in a great market position. However, the U.S manufacturing industry still remains the biggest investor in big data and analytics and is on track to remain competitive due to this access to advanced technologies and materials.

Bottom Line

Although the technology behind the fourth industrial revolution is undoubtedly going to change manufacturing, the overall impact to the industry will be positive for competitiveness and job performance. A common aspect to innovation people tend to ignore is market adoption/ignorance, especially if a product or service challenges industry norms. In order for the vision of Industry 4.0 to become a reality, manufacturers will need to evolve along with the technology it plans to leverage by understanding that the right Industry 4.0 solution empowers their current workforce and enables their factory to produce more with less.

manufacturing plant

A Manufacturer’s Glossary to Industry 4.0 Technology

By | Blog

What Does Industry 4.0 Mean?

Digitization. IoT. Big Data. There are plenty of technical Industry 4.0 buzzwords being thrown around in the world of manufacturing, and it can easily be overwhelming for manufacturers who might not have a background in technology. Innovation happens at lightning speed, and keeping up with the times is difficult. We’re here to clear the waters with this brief glossary for non-technical manufacturers.

manufacturing plant

What’s the Buzz Around Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 can be thought of as the 4th revolution in the manufacturing industry. First, there was the invention of the steam engine — which garnered in the industrial revolution. Just under 100 years later, the assembly line and the adoption of electric-powered manufacturing tools increased manufacturing speed exponentially.

Another 70 years after that, computers found their place in the industry, giving manufacturing robots a new level of efficiency. Just under 50 years later, Industry 4.0 is bringing to the table a completely new level of analysis and efficiency to manufacturing. Through improving data collection and aggregation to maximize efficiency while also creating a seemingly autonomous factory, Industry 4.0 is completely changing the way manufacturing is done. Almost everybody wants a piece of this technology, but even with all the technological advances, the goals still remain the same (reduce waste, increase output), technology just makes it easier to achieve those goals and remain competitive.

Advanced Manufacturing — The process of leveraging the most advanced technology available at the current time in order to maximize the output and/or product quality of a manufacturing facility.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) — A technology that gives computers the ability to learn based on data, previous experiences, and their environment in order to make decisions in order maximize results.

Big Data — Large compilations of data that can be analyzed in order to reveal patterns, trends, and associations. Big data is especially used in order to detect bottlenecks in productivity, predict outcomes, and find patterns that otherwise wouldn’t be noticeable through informal analysis.

Cloud Computing — A secure data center managed outside of your company, much like the bank you use, with the resources to scale and store billions of data points.

factory cloud

Cyber-Physical Production Systems (CPPSs)— An unnecessarily complicated term for the concept of when machines are connected in a process or line and one machine’s actions can influence another.

Digital Native —A person who was born into the world of digital technology. They typically have a high level of intuition and understanding of using technology and the Internet.

Digitization —The process of moving information onto a format that can be understood by a computer in order for that data to be used in computational calculations.

Human-Machine Interface (HMI) —A user-interface consisting of hardware and software that lets a person send request/commands to a machine. Typically HMI’s are meant to make it as easy as possible for a person to control a machine with little difficulty. A great example here would be a smartphone. With a smartphone, a user would perform various actions in order to navigate to the phone-call application and place a call.

Industry 4.0 —The current trend in the manufacturing industry that uses a combination of IoT, big data, and cloud computing in order to develop factories that can make decisions based on large amounts of data. A couple benefits that Industry 4.0 offers is the ability to detect bottlenecks and deficiencies using big data, high-level customization, and automation of production.

Internet of Things (IoT) —The concept of connecting otherwise separate machines or data sources so that people can take better decisions and actions faster. This large number of data-gathering devices is the backbone of Industry 4.0 that allows people to make decisions in alignment with varying productivity goals.

Interoperability/Machine 2 Machine (M2M) —The ability of machines to communicate together and make decisions using information without the need of human intervention.

SaaS (Software as a Service) —The process in which software is centrally hosted by a vendor and licensed to users on a subscription basis.

Smart Factory —A smart factory is a learning factory, where people leverage data and technology constantly. Essentially, it’s implementation of Industry 4.0 technology.

This Is All Helpful, But Where Do I Start?

It may help to provide a practical example for using some of these terms. I’ll use my company as an example, Oden Technologies. We provide a cloud platform that can help people develop a smart factory. We provide IoT devices for all sorts of machines for data collection while providing real-time data visualization and actionable insights for manufacturers to make things better.

Our service also comes with unlimited user accesses that provide their customers an option to share access to the platform data with anyone they want to. Overall, Oden requires minimal work and provides a straightforward and simple integration solution for manufacturers being pressured to digitize their entire factory!

What is the biggest production constraint in your operations? Where can you leverage data and Industry 4.0 technology to fix these issues? If you look at many manufacturing companies thriving today being built today, you may find plenty. Can you make data one of your competitive advantages?