Capabilities / Line Integration / Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0
The fourth industrial revolution

The fourth industrial revolution

Industry 4.0 is the next step in our progression of technological advancement: cyber-physical systems merged with the Internet of Things (IoT).

Imagine robotics controlled remotely by computer systems using machine learning (artificial intelligence), with minimal input from human operators.

In terms of production lines, it means a move towards ‘smart’ factories where all equipment, sensors, software and data analytics are connected through the IoT and controlled by a line control system that can visualise the whole production line and recommend or make decisions independently.

The ultimate vision is for line control to respond intelligently to the physical environment.

Some of the benefits of Industry 4.0 are:

  • Consistency of data communication from all the equipment in the factory/line – enables operators to see information in real time while they are working, in a visual, intuitive way.

  • Expanded product offerings – new opportunities for small batch production. Automation enables instant, customisable and precise programming, using historical data, problem-solving and self-learning.

  • Quality control - reliable and consistent manufacture. All staff are connected by Industry 4.0 and are supplied with instant feedback on non-conformances or problems. Process auditing and opportunities for improvement can be communicated instantly across the entire platform.

  • Supply chain management - the ready supply of information reduces waste along the entire chain and improves resource planning.

  • Safety - robots take over tasks that are too difficult or unsafe. Sensor data ensures the entire operation is safe for employees.

  • Enhanced human efficiency – as vision systems become smaller and lighter and are integrated into staff equipment and garments (such as glasses, helmets and tools), staff become ‘plugged in’ to the smart factory and can give and receive information in real time.

  • Reduced maintenance costs – smart factories are self-monitoring and unplanned downtime is minimised.

Industry 4.0 brings higher levels of productivity, optimisation and ultimately, profits.

A few of the challenges in adopting an Industry 4.0 model:

  • The expense of implementation – the initial investment can be significant.

  • Data security issues – integrating systems provides easier access, so proprietary knowledge becomes an IT security problem.

  • A drop in the number of staff employed for tasks replaceable by automation – and a subsequent increased requirement for up-skilled staff to interact with automation.

In the many factory upgrades we have been involved in, the benefits have far outweighed the concerns.

Feedback from our recent projects:

DuluxGroup –
'Personalised Mass Production'

Dulux Merrifield is a new $165M greenfield site in North Melbourne, currently considered one of the world's most advanced Industry 4.0 sites.

Kevin Worrell, Project Director at Dulux Australia: “We face the enormous challenge of wanting to offer both small and large quantities of paint economically, and in our customary high quality. We wanted to make sure that our new factory would be future-proofed to allow us to respond quickly to the latest trends, create new business opportunities and remain at the leading edge of paint manufacturing well into the future.” 

"This factory is really, really agile. We’ve got the ability to go down to as small as one pallet of paint in a batch, to 30,000 litres of paint in a single batch. That agility gives us an advantage over the opposition. We can now make batches in 1/50th of the size, in 1/8th of the time."

'We’re able to virtually eliminate manual interventions – reducing from approximately 75,000 per annum – giving us repeatability and pin-point accuracy with our recipes"

"We’ve been running less than 3 months… we’re seeing roundabout a 25% energy efficiency over what we designed for."

“The best key metric and KPI for this project is that we did it on time and budget... the flexibility of the plant… 200 raw materials that are handled without manual intervention... 300 recipes we can change if we need to. The filling lines can handle about 1400 SKUs… just consider...we’ve got 15L containers metal, we’ve got 15L containers plastic, we’ve got 1L containers, and we’ve got everything in between. That’s what this can do. And that’s pretty damn good.”

Read the full case study

Lion Dairy & Drinks –
'Consolidated Packaging Line'

The company downsized four beverage production lines to two, and repurposed some existing equipment along the way, while also integrating a high level of connectivity between all the equipment to bring the factory closer to Industry 4.0 standards.

Michael Riches, Line Engineer at Lion:  “(This project) essentially reduced four juice bottling lines down to two by turbocharging the secondary and tertiary packaging lines.”

“The equipment was specified to transform a site with essentially zero ability to generate meaningful production data into one that could. This data will be used to generate projects focused on operational efficiencies and waste reduction.”

Read the full case study

For the last decade, we have focused our business on the advancement of smart factory integration in Australia and New Zealand, building our expertise in information-driven manufacturing. It has enabled us to provide end-to-end solutions for our clients, to uniformly-high standards.

Talk to us about your current manufacturing challenges and see how Industry 4.0 can transform your operations.

Line Management System
Foodmach_Industry 4.0 Paint
Foodmach_Industry 4.0 Automation
Foodmach_Industry 4.0 Beverages

Got a question? Let's Chat


'Industry 4.0 is the future. Foodmach are right at the cutting edge... a great partner to take you on that journey.'

Project Director, DuluxGroup