Industry 4.0 – otherwise known as the fourth industrial revolution – has impacted industries around the world, and the automotive sector has been no exception to this rapid growth. To keep up with the pace of change, leading vehicle inspection experts have deployed disruptive hardware and software – such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered vehicle inspection booths that increase efficiency in automotive manufacturing and maintenance. AI powered vehicle inspection technology has allowed OEMs to move away from time-consuming manual inspections and turn toward fully automated processes.
What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0, as you may guess, is the fourth development of the industrial revolution; a process that we are currently living through.
To put this in perspective, Industry 1.0, the first development, came with the advent of mechanization, steam power and water power, the second saw the introduction of electricity into assembly lines for mass production and the third came with line use of IT systems to automate production.
The fourth relates to automation and data exchange in technology and processes on the production line, such as Smart manufacture, Cloud computing, The internet of things and Artificial Intelligence; all of which require collaboration between Information Technology and Operational Technology, enabling smarter business decisions and efficiency gains.
Information Technology and Operational Technology
Information technology (IT) was introduced to the production line during the third revolution and refers to the use of computers to create, process, store, retrieve and exchange data and information. Operational technology (OT) relates to physical processes carried out by machinery on the production line.
For OEMs to strengthen their position within Industry 4.0, the gap between IT and OT must converge. Part of this convergence means that existing OEM Information Technology systems are in communication with Operations Technology systems, responsible for performing operations on the production line.
Next-Gen Operational Technology Hardware
Today’s hardware technology has paved the way for OEMs to deal with quality issues within their supply chains and minimize downtime. In order to tackle these situations in the long-term, however, OEMs must utilize an all- encompassing approach to ensure the efficiency and integration of both their Information Technology and Operational Technology.
A prominent example of modern hardware is the latest state-of-the- art AI-powered vehicle inspection booth. These booths are built to increase efficiency in both manufacturing and maintenance in industrial automotive inspection lines, logistics and fleet operations.
Leveraging high-resolution cameras with optimized hardware and lighting equipment, these booths capture dents, cracks, minor scratches, and even missing features on vehicles. The drive- through booths boost efficiency whilst completing a vehicle inspection with a total process time (TAKT time) of under 6 seconds per vehicle.
Hundreds of images captured within seconds are stored in the cloud. Therefore, modern vehicle inspection booths with ultimate hardware technology enable AI and machine learning to make accurate decisions providing them with high-quality data.
What’s more, OEMs who cannot afford to provide large space for these booths can take advantage of compact hardware vehicle inspection systems. For instance, DeGould’s Auto-Compact booth has ten cameras to capture ultra- high-resolution images together with six high resolution machine vision cameras to further augment its defect detection capability.
On top of that, the system can be integrated into the IT software to flag any problems to on-call engineers in real time, minimizing manufacturing downtime.
A Combined Approach Towards Hardware and Software
In this digital-first era, OEMs often overlook the importance of operational technology hardware, prioritizing IT software technologies. However, a balance between software and hardware is vital to get the most out of industry 4.0. There is no doubt that next-generation hardware is required to embrace software applications. From the latest sensors to bright lighting and high-resolution mirrorless cameras, hardware technologies are a must to drive efficiency and support software technologies such as AI and Machine Learning to produce powerful results.
Automotive leaders such as Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Mercedes Benz and Toyota have already started to leverage modern vehicle inspection technology which indicates the rapidly growing nature of the technology in the automotive industry.
The future of automotive technology incorporates a blend of hardware and software technologies that will help professionals boost operational efficiency.