Global industry has come a long way since the 18th century. And now, on the edge of the fourth industrial revolution, we’ll soon see another evolutionary leap forward.

Welcome to Industry 4.0, where new solutions offer more efficient methods and opportunities to forever change the way we work.

The combination of virtual reality technology with these advancements will reshape the industrial landscape in ways we are only just beginning to understand. No longer is VR just about entertainment – industry manufacturers are realizing its potential applications for a wide range of needs.

And as we move ahead into this new industrial revolution, VR will advance alongside its industry counterparts to meet those needs.

What is Industry 4.0?

The first industrial revolution centered on mechanization through water and steam power. The second industrial revolution saw the dawning of assembly line mass production and electricity. The third was the introduction of electronics and IT for automating production.

Industry 4.0 mixes past industrial revolutions with today’s latest technologies. It promises to boost manufacturing efficiency by securely collecting data and using that data to produce insights that can positively influence business decisions. What were once ordinary manual processes have been re-imagined thanks to new user-friendly techniques.

The role human beings will play in this new working environment is part of a huge and controversial debate. Business owners are not certain about the part human labor will play in using these new technologies. But one thing is certain: industry will never be the same.

Envisioning the Future of Manufacturing

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Using 3D models of machines and equipment, companies can create visualizations of entire smart electronic factories. The simulated machines inside these visualizations can learn from their mistakes and enhance their operations until they become self-sufficient production units.

The factories of the future are intelligent and fully networked. Their final forms will take into account the evolving demands of their own industries and adapt to new ideas whenever necessary. And regardless how large or small a project, it can be constructed with ease inside the VR environment.

The 3D model of the factory is based on a blueprint of the real factory, so all the machinery inside works just like their real life counterparts. Because of this, plant managers can take virtual tours of future factories to better understand their jobs and learn to deal with problems before they ever arise.

Companies that design a wide range of products can keep team members and investors involved from start to finish on all their manufacturing processes thanks to industrial visualizations. Advancements in 3D rendering software that use photorealistic lighting and color allow designers to depict the final appearance of a product in a VR environment before it has ever been built.

Increasing the Value of Expert Knowledge

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The entire system of industrial organization is changing, and the volume of worldwide data will explode in coming years. That’s why new systems that enable industry experts to understand their content must be developed.

According to market researchers, global sales in such areas will increase from €160 billion in 2013 to approximately €195 billion by 2018. German industry alone will invest around €40 billion annually in Industry 4.0 applications by 2020. Experts anticipate the rate of integration of digital technologies will determine the success or failure of German industry.

Billions of machines, systems, and sensors worldwide will communicate with each other and share information. That’s what makes it so critical that industries are able to analyze the sea of data they’ll collect from their manufacturing processes.

That’s where VR comes in. Users are able to control all elements of their factories in 3D with remote collaborative support in live environments – often called “serious games.” These allow the interactive visualization of industrial facilities to gain insight and provide solutions to problems without disrupting production.

More Future Applications

  • Virtual reality demonstrations will become the new normal at tradeshows for practically all global industries.
  • Companies will use VR to build intelligent new electronics inside industrial-grade applications.
  • Users will be able to share information on physical systems of factories via Web-based systems.
  • Manufacturing processes will become more flexible and allow for the economic production of small lot sizes. Robots and smart products will communicate with one another to make decisions on their own to provide such flexibility.
  • Automated logistics systems that operate robotic machinery will adjust to production needs on their own.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a 3D VR visualization says it all. And with Industry 4.0 right around the corner, the new image of the industrial design world is loud and clear.

If you’d like to learn more about the way VR can shape the future of your industry, contact RenderThat today.