For the past 7 years, Industry 4.0 has proved its benefits. While Smart Factories brought increased productivity, the forth revolution also came with limitations. Still, they made room for improvement, which took the shape of Industry 5.0. If we are to compare industry 4.0 vs. industry 5.0, the latter wins in terms of benefits to businesses and people alike.

Why the need for Industry 5.0

Industry 4.0 brought automation, digitalization, faster processes, more precision, and failure prevention. These advancements came along with some drawbacks: complex, expensive software, people’s jobs replaced by machines, security leaks, need for highly skilled people to operate intricate processes.

As it shapes presently, Industry 5.0 promises great shifts not only in industrial processes, but also in the business and consumption models. The advantages of Industry 5.0 concern two major actors: manufacturers and consumers.

With the help of big data technologies, IoT and AI, companies can improve manufacturing strategies, processes, better predict and offer a better work environment. They would be able to adjust the business model in real time, following demand. No more repetitive jobs for people. Instead, they could focus on problem-solving and creativity.

At the same time, customers will benefit from personalized products. Industry 5.0 moves from mass customization to personalization. Clients could state their preferences in the design phase and the production line adapted accordingly, no added costs.

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Industry 5.0 comes with challenges

With all the amazement around industry 5.0, it is easy to overlook its potential challenges. We identified three main concerns, but time will tell which ones will truly be:

  1. People may need to develop completely new skills. Working alongside robots sounds fantastic, but workers will have to learn how to collaborate with a smart machine. Beyond the soft skills required, technical skills will also be an issue. Programming the robots or managing them translates into new jobs, like Chief Robotics Officer.

  2. The adoption of new technology has always taken time and effort. How will manufacturers implement it all? What are industry 5.0 technologies? Customized software, collaborative robotics, 3 D printing, AI, IoT, Cloud are only a few to name.

  3. Furthermore, these technologies need investment. Cobots don’t come cheap. Training people for the new jobs also costs. Some companies may find it difficult to upgrade their production lines for Industry 5.0. Even if money is not a problem, the rhythm of change could be. Those who cannot afford it or are too slow in adopting I 5.0 may be left behind.

The benefits of implementing 5.0

The good news is that regardless the challenges, there are more opportunities to encourage companies to implement Industry 5.0. Let’s see what they are:

  • Increased overview of the maintenance plan. It refers to predictive maintenance, as opposite to preventive maintenance applied so far. Smart sensors, IoT and customized software help to monitor and predict possible failures in due time. Only those machines likely to break down will be stopped for adjustments.
  • Sustainability. Industry 5.0 manufacturing promises to use resources wisely, adjusting to the current need. The collaboration between man and machine power leads to flexible business models. In consequence, waste and overproduction can be reduced up to elimination. Local production and new jobs will also make local economies sustainable.
  • Human efficiency & productivity. Ironically, the new technology brings people back at the center of production. Repetitive, even dangerous tasks can now be performed by robots, while people focus on creativity and solutions. Such skills lead to increased productivity, especially when people feel motivated by their work and the end result.
  • Environmental control inside the factory. Smart, connected sensors and customized software give real-time and predictive overviews of climate, humidity, temperature, energy consumption. This is especially helpful in farms that depend so much on the weather. Knowing what to expect and where to intervene can prevent severe losses and improve production.
  • Forecasting line production efficiency. The smart, connected machines together with customized software and machine learning can forecast production efficiency based on the current activity. This is what renders flexibility: processes can be adjusted according to parameters to avoid losses.

Photo by Patricio Davalos on Unsplash

It is still hard to tell how Industry 5.0 will transform the economy. Challenges should not be neglected, but also not seen as barriers. The benefits are far more important: human creativity re-installed, personalized products that allow customers to affirm their individuality, sustainable production, accurate forecasting that supports efficiency. All strong enough reasons to take the next step.