3 Things Manufacturers Should Know About Industry 5.0

September 20 2023

Market insight

While many manufacturers are still integrating the philosophies of Industry 4.0, the next evolution in manufacturing is already manifesting itself. As opposed to a giant leap forward, Industry 5.0 is more of a reconsideration of how the smart technology platforms of Industry 4.0 can supplement human intervention — for example, how artificial intelligence (AI), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and machine learning can augment the creativity and critical thinking human intervention bring to the table. 

Industry 5.0 may not reach its apex in the U.S. in the coming weeks or months, but its growing popularity and manufacturers should understand the ins and outs in order to streamline implementation down the road. With this in mind, let’s look at three things manufacturers should know about Industry 5.0, and how it will change modern manufacturing.

Industry 5.0 places a greater emphasis on strengthening the collaboration between humans and technology

The thrust of Industry 4.0 was putting smart technology at the center of manufacturing and supply chain logistics to help create a more data-driven, connected ecosystem that fostered increased visibility, efficiency, and productivity.

At the core of Industry 5.0 is the desire to augment this digital transformation with meaningful collaboration and partnership between smart automation systems and humans. Industry 5.0 is also built on the notion that the marriage between technology and human intervention should strive for more than increased process efficiency or productivity — the goal should be leveraging this partnership to leave a lasting, positive impact on society and the world.

The three core principles of Industry 5.0 include:

  • A human-centric industry, which makes human and societal needs the focus of modern manufacturing. This principle asks not what smart automation platforms can do productivity and efficiency, but what these technologies can do to help empower human creativity and problem solving.
  • A sustainable industry, which looks to put insight-driven industrial automation solutions to work in service of reducing waste and creating more sustainable manufacturing processes. In fact, Industry 5.0 is about more than merely mitigating the environmental impact of manufacturing — it’s about innovating new processes that could actually lay the foundation for helping to reverse damage to the environment.
  • A resilient industry, which is one that is able to anticipate supply chain disruptions or production bottlenecks. This is particularly important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing global supply chain difficulties. This focus on flexibility and agility aims to create a relationship between Big Data and human intuition that can react and learn from global events in order to prevent future production breakdowns.

Industry 5.0 can help manufacturing become more customized

A big component of Industry 5.0 will be the integration of collaborative robots (cobots) alongside skilled workers to bolster both productivity and creativity in manufacturing programs. Whereas the ceiling for autonomous robots is facilitating relatively simple repetitive tasks, cobots can execute much more precise, custom machining under the direction of humans and based on real-time requests from customers. 

This opens the door for high degrees of product personalization and customization. Here are a handful of Industry 5.0 tools that can help companies develop custom, personalized manufacturing programs:

  • Connected, unified data management systems that can collect, store, analyze, and implement customer data and requests that manufacturers can leverage to design and produce customized solutions quickly.
  • Smarter AI and machine learning platforms that can anticipate customer needs or preferences before the design phase even begins to better support the manufacturing of custom products.
  • More insightful digital twins and simulations to help maximize prototyping based on specific customer needs — this will help manufacturers design and produce a higher-quality product that is better able to meet specific application requirements with increased performance.

A downstream effect of customization via Industry 5.0 is a more effective quality control process. For example, a machine learning platform can spot a potential liability with the design of a custom enclosure based on customer input, and this allows a panel builder to engineer an individualized workaround before the enclosure is produced.

Industry 5.0 will make it easier for manufacturers to adjust to a variety of variables

The biggest pivot Industry 5.0 makes from its predecessor is that it places more importance on the people who make things compared to the machines that make things. This turn will likely have several  benefits for manufacturers in helping to adjust to a variety of environmental and market variables, some of which include:

  • Attracting and retaining talent. Skilled labor shortages have plagued the manufacturing industry for a number of years now, in part because of the perceived monotony of production processes. Industry 5.0 will help create a more dynamic environment where skilled workers are encouraged to use creativity and problem-solving skills that are supplemented by smart technology.
  • Sustainable manufacturing practices. Sustainability, especially in the manufacturing space, has become a necessity. The emphasis Industry 5.0 puts on reducing waste, optimizing resources, and mitigating your environmental impact will better align with consumer sentiment, but it also has the potential to fuel technological developments that could help reverse the effects of climate change.
  • Global market instability. Whether it’s supply shortages, increased freight costs, or environmental disasters, Industry 5.0 will connect powerful technological platforms with human instincts and experience to create a more agile, resilient manufacturing landscape.

Industry 5.0 is poised to once again help manufacturers rethink how they visualize and engage with their world and embrace new production models.

Learn how Rittal’s approach to a more connected automation ecosystem can help you leverage Industry 5.0 opportunities.