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Industry 5.0 shaping the future of manufacturing processes

The third Industry 5.0’ blog post series addresses how new technologies are shaping the manufacturing process, the role of humans in it and what it brings to the industry.

Sofia Gonçalves
Industry 5.0 shaping the future of manufacturing processes

Although Industry 4.0 remains the most important revolution and characterizes the present status of most production processes, the future is near. Industry 5.0 is the next step in the evolution of manufacturing, and to remain competitive, production and manufacturing processes must accept change.

Industry 4.0 paved the way for this new revolution...

Both Industry 4.0 and 5.0 address fundamental concerns, such as digital transformation, which enables a linked process between the supply chain, manufacturers, and other stakeholders to assure quality, product availability, product customisation, and sustainable operations.

And well, these new smart applications in Industry 5.0 were made possible by computer design advancements and the evolution of Industry 4.0 technology. With the introduction of Industry 4.0, the process industry has been reshaped by a wave of intelligent applications, mostly consisting of cyber-physical systems, in which applications interact via machine-to-machine communication. This progress has centered on sensors and data, which have politicized manufacturing and increased transparency in operations. 

However, despite its numerous achievements, Industry 4.0 has limitations. Traditionally focused on automation, organizations have only acknowledged the human aspect as a secondary component, rather than a vital and creative contribution to the process's development. Implementing machinery has resulted in fewer complications, but nonetheless, when things do not go as planned, the effects may be more severe. 

... and Industry 5.0 is boosting the pace

Industry 5.0 builds on the foundations of Industry 4.0, but with the aim of improving on what was done before. As a result, some of the key components of Industry 5.0 in manufacturing are shared with Industry 4.0: Cobots, the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and, eventually, smart manufacturing.


Robots play a significant role in tasks such as loading, unloading,, welding, and so on. An autonomous robot is utilized to perform a more precise independent production procedure and to work in regions where human personnel are restricted.

As a result, an industrial robot is one of the primary pillars of Industry 5.0 and will be utilized to mass-produce personal items. This results in the development of a new, completely automated production technique. 

However, Industry 5.0 encompasses a human-centric approach and, therefore, introduces the term Cobots (collaborative robots) designed to work in sync with human employees. Robots with "human brains" in Industry 5.0 boost the pace and development of numerous operations at the same time, which is accomplished via close collaboration between humans and machines, and matches the demands of clients.

The use of robots in Industry 5.0 does not mean the departure of humans from the production cycle, but instead increases the role of mechanical components and the role of humans in production. This way, humans can spread the wings of their creativity, leaving repetitive and uniform activities to robots. 

Collaborative robots working alongside humans

Internet of Things, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence

Imagine an IT network of gadgets, anything from the smartphone on your desk to equipment and buildings, all of which are linked: these comprise the Internet of Things. These gadgets are connected and equipped with sensors and create massive amounts of operational data in real time.

This information gathered by these networked devices over time is called "Big Data," and it needs to be analyzed before it can be used, which is precisely what AI is. 

AI technologies can collect and understand massive amounts of data from the factory floor in order to find trends, evaluate and anticipate customer behavior, and detect abnormalities in production processes in real time. These solutions assist manufacturers in gaining end-to-end visibility of all production activities at plants located around the globe. 

“Companies that use AI have seen cost reductions and revenue increases, according to McKinsey. 16 percent of those polled observed a 10-19% drop in costs, while 18 percent saw a 6-10% gain in overall revenue.”

All these elements combined result in "smart manufacturing", which is also a major enabler of Industry 5.0, with the purpose of finding possibilities for automating activities and to improve manufacturing performance using data analytics. 

Not only is IoT helpful in technological advancements, but it also allows us to access data in real time through the use of AI and big data. This real-time data has aided in the improvement of important corporate processes, paving the way for a "smarter" and more efficient society. IoT, in conjunction with AI, assists manufacturing processes attain higher levels of precision and productivity. 

And what does this mean for manufacturing businesses?

All these factors combined result in a variety of positive outcomes for businesses. One of them being obvious is that these technologies allow digital decision-making and, therefore, an intelligent business, with the combination of cobots, IoT, Big Data, and AI. And obviously, when you have an intelligent business, it is inherently more efficient. 

Cost optimization in the manufacturing process is also one of the results of this new approach to manufacturing. The search for business models that employ the fewest resources to earn the largest revenues finds its culmination in Industry 5.0: with better-interconnected systems, manufacturers can cut manufacturing costs and become more competitive. 

At the same time, Industry 5.0 has the environment as one of its core principles, and one of the objectives specified by Industry 5.0 is the development of industrial systems based on renewable energies. As a result, it advocates the use of circular processes that reuse and recycle natural resources, decrease waste, and have low environmental impact. And with Industry 5.0 technologies, ​​sustainable producers may use technology like AI and additive manufacturing to promote customization, which improves resource efficiency and reduces waste.

In the same light, Industry 5.0 is making mass customisation a reality, and today's industry requires rapid developments in manufacturing processes, production system digitalization, and intelligence. IT and automation are crucial to mass customization because they connect the customer's choices to the capabilities of a production team to manufacture items based on those preferences. As a result, the better the technology, the better the experience and process of customization.

Customized TNF bag

But none of this is possible without human intervention!

Consumers are increasingly seeking personalized products, and while robots excel in the standardized manufacture of standardized items, they cannot provide that "unique something." They require assistance in the tailoring of specific goods, which is precisely what makes the human touch in the manufacturing process vital. 

Also, it is expected that Industry 5.0 will bring new roles of employment and changes for professionals in the manufacturing world, like the position of Chief Robotics Officer. This professional specializes in the interaction of machines and operators, as well as having expertise in robotics and artificial intelligence. 

Employee training will also advance as virtual education becomes more widely available. Companies can save money since they do not have to halt work to train their personnel. A plethora of career opportunities connected to the interaction with robotic systems and artificial intelligence, among other technologies, are also anticipated.

Although Industry 4.0 and digital transformation are still being implemented in most companies in the manufacturing industry, it's critical to keep an eye on the future: the manufacturing sector is not static, as new technologies are continuously propelling it ahead. And just as Industry 4.0 technology stretched many enterprises' comfort zones, Industry 5.0 will need an open mind and readiness to embrace the changing role of the production worker.

What is constant, though, is the need for high-quality goods and the willingness of manufacturers to make them. Continued innovation and investment in technology aid in the discovery of new operational savings, but it is human cognition that uses this knowledge to deliver a high-quality product to the market.

Given that technological advancements affect the way value is generated, exchanged, and shared, there is an urgent need for these technologies to be built to support future social values. And, as seen above, Industry 5.0 is not only a technology-driven revolution, but rather a value-driven movement that pushes technological transformation with a specific goal in mind, always keeping humans and the environment at its core.

Read more: Industry 5.0 and mass customisation: the future of production