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Industry 5.0: Building a more sustainable human-centric and ethical industry

This Industry 5.0 series dives into the principles of Industry 5.0, its benefits, and how it changes the present paradigm of emphasis on technology.

Author:
Sofia Gonçalves
Industry 5.0: Building a more sustainable human-centric and ethical industry

Throughout history, human beings have recognized the potential of technology as a means of progress. We’ve advanced from simple tools like the wheel to global information networks, leaving other early hominids in the dust. But there have also been downsides. Inventing clothing was great and useful, but inventing mountains of unwanted clothes that choke the environment was far less helpful. Industry 5.0 intends to correct some of these excesses. 

As a new and improved version of Industry 4.0, Industry 5.0 has been promoted as a model that will bring businesses further prosperity and competitiveness while promoting a human-centric economic model. This Industry 5.0 series dives into the principal characteristics of Industry 5.0, its benefits, and how it changes the present paradigm which emphasises technology

A Brief History of the Industries

Many advancements have taken place over the past few centuries, made possible by industrial revolutions. These include steam machines, assembly lines, and computers that have made technology more powerful, more productive, and have raised our standard of living. Before diving into Industry 5.0, let’s review the previous industrial revolutions.

In the first industrial revolution, in the 18th century, steam was used to power machinery and mechanized production. Even though steam power had been around for a long time, its application for industrial purposes was a major breakthrough which dramatically increased human productivity, as weaving looms could be powered by steam engines instead of muscle power. 

Assembly line production and the discovery of electricity marked the beginning of the second industrial revolution. Henry Ford popularized the idea of mass production and carried over these principles into automobile production. Now, rather than producing an entire automobile in one station, vehicles were made in partial steps on conveyor belts - significantly faster and with a lower cost.

The third industrial revolution took place in the ’70s, with memory-programmable controls and the emergence of the first computers. With this new technology, we were able to achieve a fully automated production process, without the assistance of people, via robots programmed to perform continuous and sequenced activities without human intervention.

We are currently experiencing and implementing the fourth industrial revolution. Also known as Industry 4.0, it is characterized by the application of information and communication technologies for industry, such as the internet of things (IoT) and machine-to-machine learning, used to improve automation and communication. These innovations allowed manufacturers to improve their processes, reducing production costs, logistics, and quality management.


What is Industry 5.0?

Industry 5.0 is a concept of human-robot interaction, collaboration, and long-term sustainability. It is a method of utilizing smart manufacturing, automation, and robots to benefit not just the industry, but also the employees and society in general, and it is distinguished by a sense of purpose that extends beyond the production of products for profit.

The three core principles of Industry 5.0 are human-centricity, sustainability, and resilience.

Three principles of Industry 5.0

Human-centricity

The human-centric approach places essential human needs and interests at the center of the manufacturing process, transitioning away from a digital-driven paradigm and towards a more human-centric and society-centric approach. This approach posits that people and societies should be served by technology, and technology is then employed to make this ideal a reality. What a radical idea. 

Sustainability 

Sustainability refers to the necessity for the implementation of circular processes that enable the re-use, repurposing, and recycling of natural resources, reducing waste and environmental damage. For companies (and perhaps society generally) to survive in the next few decades, they will have to adopt green solutions. 

Resilience

The third pillar is resilience, which refers to the requirement for improved production and supply chain robustness, making it more resistant to interruptions and guaranteeing that key infrastructure can be provided and supported in times of crisis. This dovetails nicely with sustainability. In a world of environmental shocks businesses will have to be flexible enough to deal with the unforeseen consequences of unpredictable weather patterns. 

What's different in Industry 5.0?

Industry 5.0 introduces the shift from robots to cobots, and we can assure you, the change is much more meaningful than just one letter. Cobots are robotos that work together with humans, who are the center of the process. With the help of these cobots, humans can delegate difficult tasks and concentrate on the bigger picture. Think machine muscle guided by the human mind.

It's necessary to emphasize that Industry 5.0 should not be considered as a replacement for the present Industry 4.0 paradigm. Industry 4.0 and 5.0 both address basic considerations, like digital transformation, enabling a connected supply chain process. This allows manufacturers, and other stakeholders to ensure quality, product availability, customization of products, and sustainable processes; or even create digital twins, which are digital representations of real objects. 

With Industry 5.0, it is possible to reduce workplace hazards by transferring these difficult and dangerous tasks to AI and machine learning, enabling workers to focus on more productive tasks. Aside from potentially giving government safety inspectors an existential crisis, this is all for the good.

The Benefits of Industry 5.0 

There are many benefits that accompany the emergence of the 5.0 industry, which illustrate the relevance and potential of this new paradigm. If that doesn’t sound enticing enough, these benefits will also save you money.

Cost Reduction

The pursuit of business models that use the fewest resources to generate the greatest profits finds its peak in Industry 5.0, as humans and machines collaborate to generate the optimal financial decisions for an organization. With better-interconnected systems, manufacturers can cut manufacturing costs, and become more competitive. 

Sustainable Solutions

In contrast to other industrial transformations, Industry 5.0 considers the protection of the environment as a priority. It will help manufacturers focus on environmentally friendly solutions, tackling climate change. Companies like PlatformE are part of this new industrial wave, creating sustainable production processes and generating as little waste as possible. We won’t ask you to give us all the credit for saving the planet, just some of it. 

Mass Customization and Personalization

Industry 5.0 is expanding the collaboration between humans and robots, as a response to increased customization in products. While Industry 4.0 laid the groundwork for product personalization and customization, Industry 5.0 promises mass customization at scale. 

Mass customization offers customers the opportunity to create their own unique product, choosing from a wide range of patterns, colors, and fabrics, which results in better customer engagement and satisfaction. PlatformE creates the opportunity for brands to offer an engaging customization experience and deliver personalized and exclusive goods. 

When considering the recent advances of the industrial revolution, there seems to be no question that organizations which embrace change and are capable of adapting will survive and grow. The digital revolution has served to cement technology's place at the core of 21st-century production, and automated technology's ultra-fast accuracy is proving to be both a potent force and a valuable asset. But it's also obvious that individual input, personalization and customization, and the human touch will continue to play a vital role.

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