The Role of Hardware Testing in 4th Industrial Revolution

The Role of Hardware Testing in 4th Industrial Revolution

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The discussions about Industry 4.0 have increased dramatically since it was officially claimed as 4th Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab in 2015 during his report at World Economic Forum. It is expected that this 4th industrial revolution will disrupt many industrial in every country, but the biggest impact will be on manufacturing industry. Exsensio's domain expertise lies in R&D and manufacturing test for hardware. Therefore, in this article we would like to briefly discuss the role of hardware testing in Industry 4.0. 

 

What is the Industry 4.0? 

In short, Industry 4.0 is about making manufacturing "smart". This "smart manufacturing", in its turn, relies on constant data exchange between factory's elements which can be effectively achieved with such technologies as cyber-physical systems (CPS), industrial internet of things (IIoT), embedded systems, cloud computing, big data, AI, and others (the Herrmann, F., 2018 paper below explicitly describes the components of smart factory).

 

What will be the benefits for manufacturing? 

Each technology that constitutes Industry 4.0, for sure, has its own impact on all the players in manufacturing value chain. Nevertheless, in general, the aforementioned emerging technologies are intended to dramatically increase manufacturing efficiency, optimize manufacturing processes, help to achieve better productivity, and reduce costs. In addition, as smart factories are concerned with data generations, manufacturers may be able to extract important insights about production processes not known before, hence, providing superior value for their customers and coming up with new ways to generate revenue streams.   

 

What will be the role of hardware testing in Industry 4.0? 

First, Industry 4.0 manufacturing facilities will have more embedded devices and IoT systems. In addition, these modern facilities should be more efficient and autonomous. Therefore, the producers of IoT and embedded devices need to be sure that their solutions are reliable. For hardware testing it means thats there will be more devices to test, and the quality of the test itself should be high.

 

Second, the integration of test environment components between each other (the device under test, test & measurement equipment, and automated test equipment) as well as the integration between the test environment itself and whole manufacturing are two significant challenges. In our previous article about automated hardware testing (What is Automated Hardware Test Today?) we talked about the role of testing software in these integration processes. As was also mentioned in the article, software solutions available today is not able to effectively help with the integration and this process is often becoming a bottleneck.

 

Third, the testing process is arguably generating one of the highest amounts of data in comparison with other manufacturing processes. Furthermore, insightful data equals value and helps in better decision making. For example, the data generated from testing will be useful for predictive maintenance of equipment, anomaly detection in measured signals, equipment efficiency, device and equipment traceability and other areas.

 

What is the role of Exsensio? 

 

It is possible to draw more reasons why hardware testing plays a special role in Industry 4.0, but in this article, we will stick with the 3 mentioned above. Obviously, Industry 4.0 brings a lot of benefits, but also challenges and hardware testing is not an exception. There is clearly a need for a next-gen testing software solution that will fit in the domain of smart manufacturing. At Exsensio, we are developing exactly this kind of a solution. Our platform will allow developers to build scalable solutions for any kind of product testing requirements. Furthermore, our platform helps to make the integration processes easier and provides insightful data about the product quality. 

 

 

References

Schwab, K., 2017. The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond. 2016. In World Economic Forum.

Herrmann, F., 2018. The Smart Factory and Its Risks. Systems, 6(4), p.38.