Technology is fueling innovation in almost every aspect of society — and the construction industry is no different. Industry 4.0 shows how new technology can shape the construction and manufacturing industries in a positive way, particularly by streamlining internal processes. Through increasing supply chain efficiency, prefabricated construction aligns strongly with the Industry 4.0 vision. So, what is Industry 4.0? And what does prefab construction have to do with it? We’ll answer these questions and show you how prefabrication can help you embrace the changing face of construction.
What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0, otherwise known as the fourth industrial revolution, is a strategic vision that was created by the German government to help them maintain a competitive edge in manufacturing. In short, it encourages companies to leverage emerging technologies to streamline their internal processes. New, Industry 4.0 technologies represent the fourth disruption to large-scale manufacturing after steam, electricity and computers. According to McKinsey & Company, there are four disruptive technologies that can be applied across the value chain to gain this competitive edge:
- Connectivity, data, computational power — Internet of Things (IoT), cloud technology
- Analytics and intelligence — machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI)
- Human-machine interaction — virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), robotics
- Advanced engineering — 3D printing (additive manufacturing), renewable energy
Industry 4.0 leaders have already started using these technologies to increase connectivity between global teams, as well as their customers.
What Role Does Prefab Play In Industry 4.0?
Prefabrication, or off-site construction, is integral to Industry 4.0 as these disruptive technologies work best in a factory environment. Can you imagine investing in automated production, and then having to transport this machinery from site to site? It would defeat the entire purpose. You simply can’t reap the benefits of Industry 4.0 without embracing off-site construction.
How Plungie Is Embracing Industry 4.0
We’re already using software to help streamline our product support process and record progress at each stage of production. Not only does this ensure that homeowners receive a high-quality end product, but we can easily assist them with product support enquiries. If a customer requires assistance, all they need to do is quote their unique reference number (URN) which can be found in the skimmer box, and we’ll be able to retrieve all the relevant order details. Simple, right?
Digital technologies are not used exclusively during production — they can also be used during the design phase. A great example of this is our Building Information Modelling (BIM) content library.
BIM content is an important aspect of Industry 4.0 as it increases the connectivity and collaboration between teams during the design process. Working off the same, up-to-date 3D model ensures all team members are on the same page and helps reduce the number of errors in the pre-construction phase. This then reduces the likelihood of errors and rework in the construction phase. Builders can also accurately estimate the amount of materials needed — reducing costs and material wastage. Overall, BIM can streamline projects for both architects and builders.
We’ve made it easy to adopt digital design practices with our BIM content library, including Autocad, Revit and Archicad. You can download our BIM solutions to easily design and specify a pool into your next project.
Competitive Advantages of Industry 4.0
Adopting Industry 4.0 concepts, including BIM content and off-site manufacturing, is not only smart for manufacturers but can also help builders and architects gain a competitive edge. It’s predicted that Industry 4.0 will help businesses achieve:
- Improved product quality
- Competitive pricing and increased profitability
- Enhanced customer experience
- Increased productivity
As an off-site manufacturer, we’re more than familiar with these benefits. Our process allows builders to install a premium concrete swimming pool in days, not months. The factory environment helps us control quality and deliver a product that homeowners will be more than satisfied with. What’s more, we’re able to price these pools competitively against a traditional, in-situ concrete pool. If that’s not a success story, we don’t know what is!
Industry 4.0 is already being adopted by so many players in construction, architecture and engineering. Embracing off-site manufacturing is just one way to reap the benefits of this next industrial revolution. With our BIM Content Library and streamlined installation process, it’s easy to stay ahead of the game and increase the quality and efficiency of your projects.