Molex Sees Widespread Industry 4.0 Progress
July 19, 2021
released results of a global survey of Industry 4.0 manufacturing stakeholders
driving advancements in robotics, complex machines and device or control
systems. The findings reflect steady progress in the development of Industry 4.0
initiatives across the industrial automation ecosystem, including smart
automation, connectivity and analytics that add efficiency and intelligence
throughout the manufacturing lifecycle.
"It's gratifying to see widespread Industry 4.0 progress, as the Fourth
Industrial Revolution is pivotal to fulfilling the promises of digital
manufacturing," said John Newkirk, VP and general manager, Industrial Solutions,
Molex. "Ensuring success requires a pragmatic approach, organizational alignment
and secure connectivity solutions that drive operational efficiency while
boosting manufacturing flexibility and reducing costs."
Molex commissioned third-party research firm, Dimensional Research, to conduct
The State of Industry 4.0 Survey in June 2021, polling 216 qualified
participants in a variety of roles, such as R&D, engineering, production
manufacturing, strategy, innovation, and supply chain management. The primary
research goal was to capture data on practical real-life Industry 4.0
experiences and opinions. Overall, the survey respondents validated continued
growth, potential customer benefits and expected business outcomes emerging from
the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and smart manufacturing.
Key findings include:
51% of those polled report having a well-defined Industry 4.0 corporate
priority with executive sponsorship; 49% have already achieved success while 21%
are still in the investment stage
More than half of the respondents expect to meet their Industry 4.0 goals within
two years while a third believe it will take three-to-five years to reach that
58% say that digital transformation investments have accelerated Industry 4.0
44% of those polled find organizational and cultural adoption barriers hardest
Driving Impactful Outcomes and Benefits
According to the survey, the most impactful business outcomes encompass the
ability to build better products (69%), reduce overall manufacturing costs
(58%), increase revenues (53%), offer products at lower prices (35%) and
decrease time-to-market of new solutions (35%). For machine builders, robot
manufacturers and systems integrators, the opportunity to expand factory-floor
automation and intelligence is expected to drive significant customer gains.
Among the most anticipated customer benefits are increased efficiency of robots,
machines, and other manufacturing assets (58%); greater flexibility on
manufacturing lines (50%); the use of advanced analytics or Digital Twins to
self-optimize operations (50%); virtual design and simulation of new production
facilities before making capital expenditures (42%); elevated labor productivity
(41%); and unlocked access to real-time data across facilities (26%). Overall, a
significant majority of survey respondents (87%) are excited about the
transformative power of Industry 4.0 over the next decade.
Among the capabilities considered most beneficial to their organizations'
Industry 4.0 efforts, respondents cited machines embedded with ample
intelligence to control their own processes while interacting externally (53%),
remote access to all production lines and machines (47%) and versatile
connectivity solutions that include Internet (40%).
Overcoming Persistent Challenges
overwhelming optimism for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, persistent cultural,
business model and technology challenges thwart implementation. Nearly half of
those polled identified problems with leadership that doesn't advocate for
change, making it more difficult to reap full value from investments. Other
cultural issues impeding success include problems finding staff with data and
analytics skills (35%); organizational structures that limit information and
systems sharing (32%); underfunded, insufficiently staffed pilot projects (30%);
and lack of expertise in connected technologies (28%).
Most of the respondents also face major business model challenges, spurred by a
range of complex and costly requirements, such as difficult funding decisions
(45%), upfront investments that complicate ROI (42%) and lack of clarity on
which use cases pose the greatest payoffs (40%). A litany of technology hurdles
exist, including separate IT and OT network infrastructures (43%), restrictive
communications protocols (39%), limited remote access (36%), cloud
infrastructure and data solutions not aligned with manufacturing needs (34%) and
inadequate security capabilities (32%). Ultimately, 85% of the survey
participants were in strong agreement that a change in how leadership thinks is
critical to empowering Industry 4.0 initiatives to thrive.