How far is the factory of the future?


When people think of the factory of the future, they may think of the unsupervised state in which machines and equipment can be produced autonomously, and even robots can have the thinking ability like humans. Judging from the momentum of industrial technology development in recent years, the improvement of automation and digital construction are marked as Industry 4.0, that is, the fourth industrial Revolution.

This year's outbreak has made communication between people more difficult than ever, prompting many manufacturers to think about how to implement production activities in a safe, reliable and efficient way. Indirectly, it accelerates the integration of traditional automation technology, Internet and artificial intelligence technology. It is not difficult to see from the 2020 Industrial Expo that domestic and foreign industrial exhibitors are exhibiting around the theme of digitalization, intelligence and integration. In fact, there are many industries with a high level of automation, such as 3C, automobile manufacturing and so on. However, the digital construction of the factory is much more difficult

The barriers and demands of digital factory construction

Information and digital construction can effectively improve the factory production efficiency and create more value. Ironically, there are many obstacles and barriers to truly realizing digital transformation. According to the survey, in the digital construction of enterprises, it is not caused by technical factors, but by corporate culture, executive ability, risk management and managers' will factors that make it difficult to promote the digital construction. Specifically, the barriers of digital construction lie in the business role, functional maturity, lack of talent, maturity of current governance model, cultural restraint, insufficient budget, risk fear, management support and so on.

Then, in the digital construction of the factory, where is the focus of the work? In fact, the key to digital transformation lies in the thinking of value and the need for business transformation, not digitization for digitization's sake. In an era of rapid technological change, most manufacturers focus on technology. In fact, business digital transformation needs, should be the main driver.

Why is demand the main driver? We will find that there are serious problems in the domestic manufacturing industry. First, it faces the double squeeze of low-end and high-end manufacturing industries from abroad. Second, the enterprise itself has insufficient impetus for innovation. Coupled with the impact of the epidemic this year, the domestic manufacturing industry is in urgent need of new technologies to stimulate its vitality. Therefore, the key to improve the competitiveness of manufacturing industry is to realize digital construction, improve automation level and reduce production costs.

Digital security and data value

Judging from current technology trends, the cloud on factory data is an inevitable trend. However, in the process of enterprise digitization, the security problem has been troubling the transition. Experts point out that, from the statistics of CNVD and CNNVD, the annual growth trend of Internet vulnerabilities is very obvious. The total number of vulnerabilities in 2019 is more than 17,000. The main causes of vulnerabilities are buffer overflow, cross-site script, input verification and so on. In the industrial Internet, the most important access equipment is the industrial control system. Statistics show that in 2019, nine provinces and cities had more than 1,000 industrial control systems exposed on the public network, and some regions had close to 10,000. Therefore, the issue of data security cannot be ignored.

Furthermore, to realize the future factory, digitization is an important link. The end point of digital construction is to return to the value level. At the Fair, Siemens staff said: "the focus of digital construction, is to mine the use of digital value. In the process of data taken by the underlying equipment of the factory, there are many data with little value, so it is necessary to filter out the irrelevant data through software algorithm, and provide the truly valuable data to the managers for analysis and decision making, which is where the value of digital transformation lies."

Industrial giants' factories of the Future

At the expo 2020, ABB demonstrated mobile phone function testing, silicon wafer handling, logistics sorting and other solutions on the theme of future factories, showing customers how to improve productivity and flexible manufacturing. In addition, in the automobile manufacturing process, the non-overspray technology of spraying, visual servo automobile assembly technology, automobile electronic flexible assembly and 3D quality inspection were demonstrated

Siemens showcases end-to-end digital solutions from evaluation, information, integration implementation to service optimization. In addition, the implementation results of digital application are highlighted. For example, the intelligent factory information solution, coverage blueprint planning, architecture construction, route map formulation, automatic data integration standards, IT infrastructure, software, dispatching center, smart park and other dimensions planned for Laojiao Stock helped IT clarify the direction and thinking of digital construction.

Schneider's end-to-end software and hardware solutions based on EcoStruxure Internet of Things architecture cover all fields from discrete industry to process industry. Represented by lithium batteries and petrochemicals, the digital twins of the entire life cycle of the industry are displayed, as well as the overall solutions of each process segment.

Bosch Rexroth Automation's introduction of ctrlXAUTOMATION, which breaks traditional boundaries, will bring new convenience and flexibility to the development of the automation industry. According to the staff, THE new ctrlXAUTOMATION is a product created under the background of Industry 4.0. IT cuts across the traditional boundaries between machine control systems, IT, and the Internet of Things, enabling device manufacturers to reduce engineering commissioning time and workload by 30-50% with the help of extensible platforms, open standards, and application programming technologies.


Our factory of the future may not be as sci-fi as in the movies. In the process of realizing informationization, digitization and intelligentization of factories, we still face many difficulties and challenges. However, the idea of people managing machines, improving production line efficiency, improving production quality, reducing production costs, and being able to accept "customized" flexible manufacturing may be the factory of the foreseeable future.