What’s coming, and why the process industries will have to be more nimble. Simon Coombs, Managing Director, Digital Plant Europe, Accenture talks to Helen Tunnicliffe
IN THE 1700s, we had the first Industrial Revolution, with the adoption of steam and water power and mechanisation. In the late 1800s, we had the second, with the advent of assembly lines and mass production, and electricity. In the 1980s, the third Industrial Revolution introduced computers and automation. And in more recent years, Industry 4.0 has introduced to manufacturing the likes of cyber technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and cognitive computing.
The process industries are already seeing the benefits of Industry 4.0, but global professional services company Accenture believes that the speed of change is already moving us beyond Industry 4.0, to Industry X.0. The Chemical Engineer spoke to Simon Coombs, Accenture’s European lead for digital plant (including for the chemicals, power, energy and metals sectors), to find out more.
Accenture defines Industry X.0 as “the digital reinvention of industry”, transforming core operations, worker and customer experiences and business models. According to Coombs, Industry X.0 essentially refers to the ongoing industrial revolution. Technology and innovation is moving faster than it ever has before.
“If there’s going to be Industry 4.0, there’s going to be 5.0 and 6.0 and it’s going to go on and on. We’ve coined this phrase Industry X.0 to really get that idea of looking towards the future and combining transforming efficiency with looking at how we can use this transformation to create innovation and new growth within our clients’ businesses to create top-line value,” he says.
The introduction of cyber technologies is an important part of Industry 4.0, but the difference between that and Industry X.0 is the transformational aspects and the combination of many different technologies and innovations.
“All of these terms, connected worker, big data and so forth, are almost treated as silos in Industry 4.0. Industry X.0 is how you connect those things together to transform the way of working,” says Coombs, adding: “What if the connected worker, which is just one element, is combined with video analytics, and artificial intelligence? You’re now starting to get a more comprehensive solution.”