In the future of the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), Mechatronics will assert itself – the machine will work and function in a networked fashion. Intelligent components and systems will configure themselves as a highly self-organised system ensuring a smooth running sequence.

Production of one-off parts will become as fast and cost effective as mass production runs. For the maintenance technician, access to this “intelligent” network will be paramount.

The maintenance technician will automatically receive warnings and service requests from the machine. But all this data is a challenge unless highly advanced tools are used to translate the information.

Virtual solutions will support the maintenance technician in his work and augmented reality will combine information recorded by machines with the virtual environment. 

This will be presented on the maintenance technician’s smartphone or tablet enabling and assisting the complex task of maintenance in tomorrow’s highly flexible and continuously changing production systems.

This radical change in the industrial approach requires a shift of thought and a new approach to machines and the industrial environment.  We have to ask ourselves whether we are and will be ready for the fourth industrial revolution from design to management and maintenance?

In the words of Enrico Rühle, Festo Didactic, “He who doesn’t start learning today will soon be living in yesterday’s world tomorrow.”  This is the reason Festo has pioneered in the topic of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) and can currently offer hands-on practice and training on the “smart factory” philosophy.

Festo South Africa has a Cyber Physical (CP) Factory that is currently being used to train the technicians and designers of the future in aspects of I4.0.  

The CP factory offers hands on exposure to modular machine concepts, warehousing, manufacturing execution system, system integration, mobile robotics, energy monitoring, component tracking, augmented reality and much more.