Blockchain Technology as Enablement of Industry 4.0

Blockchain Technology as Enablement of Industry 4.0

Fredrick Ishengoma
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7642-7.ch009
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Industry 4.0 (also known as smart manufacturing or industrial internet of things [IIoT]) refers to a major change in the way products are manufactured and delivered, with a focus on industrial automation and the flexible factory backed with several technologies that include the internet of things (IoT), cyber-physical systems, and artificial intelligence. Industry 4.0 gave birth to a new age of smart manufacturing, automated supply chain, and personalized goods and services. Meanwhile, the rise in the application of blockchain technology (BCT) in different sectors propels the Industry 4.0 model to extend its scope. This chapter discusses the impact of BCT as the enablement of Industry 4.0. The modified e-Delphi methodology aimed at gathering the opinions of recognized experts was used. The findings present the potential that BCT brings using a case along with emerging issues. Emerging issues such as BCT security, interoperability, smart contract issues, digital twin issues, and ethical issues are discussed, and solutions are proposed.
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Industry 4.0 is transforming the way industries produce, develop, and sell their goods. Manufacturers are incorporating enabling technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, big data analytics, smart sensors, location detection technologies, adaptive robotics, and machine learning into their manufacturing operational activities (Zheng et al., 2018; Alcácer & Cruz-Machado, 2021; Oztelev & Gursev, 2020; Yang & Gu, 2021; Bartodziej, 2021). The real strength of Industry 4.0 lies in the integration of technologies in the network of industrial machines that generate, exchange information, and make decisions based on that information. Industry 4.0 pushes the impact of digital transformation to a whole new stage by leveraging interconnectivity via IoT, accessibility and decision making based on real-time data, and the integration of cyber-physical systems (Trunzer et al., 2019; Gaiardelli et al., 2021). Put, Industry 4.0 transforms traditional factories into “smart” factories.

As manufacturers embrace Industry 4.0, evolving smart factories deliver several potential opportunities. Smart factories, for example, can analyze large quantities of data collected from industrial sensors and machinery in real-time, offering real-time tracking of manufacturing properties and conducting predictive maintenance based on the data to minimize downtime.

“Block-chain” has been a common buzzword since Satoshi Nakamoto leveraged the technology as the data structure for Bitcoin in 2008 (Nakamoto, 2008). The focal point of blockchain technology (BCT) was on financial applications (Nofer et al., 2017). As a result, it's unsurprising that it's fairly well-employed for handling financial operations where trust can be gained by the use of blockchains. The blockchain's role in Industry 4.0 is unleashing a slew of emerging innovations. For instance, BCT can guarantees that the Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) that make up smart factories can order a required spare part independently and safely, streamline the manufacturing processes to reduce power usage, predict future supply chain defects before they occur, and many other benefits (Zhao et al., 2016). As a result, BCT is a promising enabler in the evolution of Industry 4.0.

Because of blockchain's efficiency in handling transactions, industries are now looking for it to solve other issues, including a variety of manufacturing-related issues. A blockchain, for instance, can link ledgers across a production process to increase the accuracy and reliability of product traceability. By enhancing tracking capabilities, a cumbersome, multi-day operation can be turned into an automated process that takes just seconds. For instance, if you employ BCT between smart Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and parts supplier, as well as the cyber-physical infrastructure that makes up the industrial plant, machines can procure spare parts securely and fully autonomous.

Besides that, blockchain's ability to allow secure and open transactions between any range of smart devices makes it critical for the economic changes that industry 4.0 implies. In a smart factory, automated controllers exchange data from a complex network of equipment, parts, and processes. Designers, distribution firms, and equipment suppliers are among the many players in the value chain. As it transforms a series of components into a finished product, blockchain can track and record every step of the process. Risk factors such as locating defective parts may be mitigated with BCT.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Blockchain: Blockchain is a distributed, decentralized ledger that makes tracking transactions and monitoring assets in a value chain much easier.

Smart Contract: A code that runs on the blockchain network and defines certain criteria that all parties must enforce.

Microgrid: A decentralized network of electricity generating units that is usually connected to and synchronous with the conventional wide-area synchronous grid, but that can also detach to “island mode” and run independently.

Cyber-Physical System: CPS monitors physical components with computer-based algorithms connected to internet, using a mixture of computers, sensory sensors, embedded cognitive computing, and multiple communications mechanisms.

Logistics 4.0: A term coined to describe the application of Industry 4.0 technologies in logistics domain.

Quality 4.0: Under the framework of Industry 4.0, a concept that refers to the future of quality and organization performance.

Industry 4.0: The use of new smart technology to advance automation of conventional manufacturing and industrial practices.

Digital Twin: A digital versions of physical objects.

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