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MAR-APR 2018

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FAST FORWARD l Collaborative robotics innovator introduces the next industrial revolution: Industry 5.0 l Industry 4.0 offers mass production with little or no human involvement; Industry 5.0 brings personalization and the human touch back to manufacturing. l Collaborative robots are well positioned to become Industry 5.0 tools, helping humans create the person al- ized products demanded by consumers. (often referred to as "mass customization"). l Because robots cost almost the same every- where in the world, they can help companies reshore manufacturing jobs that were trans- ferred to low-cost labor countries and gener- ally level the playing field. Mass production to mass personalization The fourth point above—that connected Indus- try 4.0 technologies, including robots, let manu- facturers mass customize their products like never before—is worth looking at in detail. Let's take buying a car as an example: Many readers of this article grew up under Industry 3.0, which accompanied the rise of computing in business. Buying a car in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s usually involved selecting a make and model at a car dealership, or—if nothing in the showroom quite fit the bill—perhaps ordering a car in a par- ticular color and with certain extras, like air con- ditioning. Granted, that was a lot of choice com- pared to what Henry "as long as it's black" Ford had to offer (i.e., Industry 2.0). But it was nothing like "configuring" a car online today. Car buyers now have so many options to choose from that any given customer has a good chance of ending up with a car that at least ap- pears to be one of a kind. Now, if you are the owner of this car and live in a city of, say, half-a- million people, and if nobody else has a car that is exactly like yours, then you are driving a car that, to all appearances, was designed uniquely for you. Even if you are not a millionaire. Even if it is not a particularly expensive car. Driven by a desire to make affordable, high- quality products that at least give the appearance of uniqueness, today's mass customization is largely enabled by Industry 4.0 technologies— including Internet connections between dealer- ship ordering systems, supply chain systems, and even the robots on the car factory floor. The customer makes choices from a growing list of options. This set of choices is configured and packed in just the right order. The truck ar rives at the car factory at just the right min- ute. And the forklifts deliver the parts straight to the assembly line station where the customer's "unique" car appears. This is Industry 4.0, and I believe it is the future INTECH MARCH/APRIL 2018 23 FACTORY AUTOMATION

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