There are no companies in Malaysia presently ready for Industry 4.0 (IR 4.0) as they need to have the intelligent information and communication technologies capability of a smart factory.
This was revealed by Assoc Prof Ts Dr Khairur Rijal Jamaludin, auditor of the Industry4WRD Readiness Assessment (Industry4WRD-RA) programme to help firms assess their capabilities and readiness for adopting Industry 4.0. He was speaking to over 50 participants at the webinar titled ‘Towards Smart Manufacturing in IR 4.0’ on 11 November 2021.
The event was organised by WOU’s School of Science & Technology, the Technological Association of Malaysia Penang Branch, the Institution of Engineers, Malaysia, Penang Branch, and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Malaysia Section.
Dr Khairur urged companies in Malaysia to improve and be equipped with cyber physical systems for intelligent automation, horizontal integration and vertical integration. He said industries in Europe and US have started adopting IR 4.0, while the Japanese already had big data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence as far back as 10 years ago.
He highlighted that “none of the SMEs in Malaysia so far are interconnected with cyber physical system that is intelligent enough to be called 4.0”, adding that even the most advanced industries here only have automated production using robots.
With 2035 being the maturity deadline for IR 4.0, Malaysia has introduced the national policy for IR 4.0, known as Industry4WRD, to assess the readiness level of the manufacturing organisations and related services. Under Industry4WRD, the government provides incentives to help transform the Malaysian manufacturing industry to be “smarter, more systematic and resilient” for migration to IR 4.0.
He defined IR 4.0 as, “Current trend of digitalisation of data and information exchange using advanced technology where everything is connected and collaborated in real-time through a cyber physical system.” He said many companies have lots of data but fail to translate these into useable information for solutions in real-time.
He said cyber physical system (CPS) is the hardware for IR 4.0. “CPS is enabling technologies that bring the virtual and physical worlds together to create a truly networked world in which intelligent objects communicate and interact with each other.”
Dr Khairur explained further, “The customers, suppliers, design engineers, the shop floor, the vendors are all connected to the product development. Information can be changed, converted, in the system in real-time and the outcome is a product that fulfils the customer’s needs.”
He mentioned the need to beef up the industries in Malaysia so that they will translate customer’s data into useful information, e.g., to identify the source of a problem, make predictions for prevention, find solutions, or know what future plans to adopt.
He stressed that IR 4.0 can solve common industrial issues related to manpower, machine, material and method, such as manual handling and documentation, workers’ competency, machine breakdowns, wear and tear, spare parts availability, inventory control, traceability of equipment, parts supply and management, production control intelligence, marketing intelligence, and the trends of data.
He encouraged companies to equip themselves with the enabling technologies for Industry 4.0, namely big data analytics, AI, augmented Reality, additive manufacturing, cybersecurity, IoT, simulation, system Integration, cloud computing, autonomous robots and advanced materials.
Dr Khairur warned, “If our industries do not improve the cyber physical systems in preparation for industry 4.0, they will be left behind in 2035.”