Towards an Industry 5.0

Embracing a Human-Centric, Sustainable Approach

Resilient, human-centric and sustainable: this is the industry of the future according to the paradigms of Industry 5.0.

 

But let’s take a step back: today we are experiencing the Industry 4.0 era, characterized by digitalization, automation, and interconnected production processes. The industry has seen the emergence, evolution, and affirmation of technologies such as cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, etc.

 

According to the European Commission, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has focused mainly on digitalizing processes and utilizing new technologies, transforming the society in which we live as well as the industrial processes that characterize it, starting with AI; however, there has been no focus on the role of workers and sustainable development models. For this reason, one of the risks that Industry 4.0 brings with it is that complete digitalization could replace the human workforce with machines, with consequent critical employment issues.

 

Industry 5.0 is meant to be an acknowledgement of how the technologies applied in production models must be put at the service of humans and society to design a future that focuses on sustainability and resilience, on a human-centric approach to enable human–machine collaboration.

Towards the 5.0 era

After ten years, we are on the threshold of a new major change: the Fifth Industrial Revolution – what people are calling collaborative industry: a business model characterized by intelligent cooperation between machines and humans thanks to specially designed collaborative robots, known as cobots.

 

The European Commission’s report defines Industry 5.0 not so much as an evolution, but as a completion of Industry 4.0: a process complementary to the digital transformation, capable of steering growth in the direction of widespread welfare for society, people, and the environment.

 

Industry 5.0 will have a strong impact on companies’ organizational structures and production models, promoting agility and production resilience, transforming the manufacturing sector through the use of advanced technologies such as AI, IoT and big data, into a more flexible, efficient, and human-centric environment with a strong positive impact on both the economy and society.

From automated production to man-machine collaboration

The key point of Industry 5.0 is that it is a business model characterized by being human centric, where the cooperation being realized and carefully designed takes place between man and machine.

 

Specifically, when we speak of a human-centric approach, we mean using technology to adapt production process to the needs of workers, with systems and platforms that do not interfere with workers’ fundamental rights. Therefore, the role of the machine is being redefined, becoming a collaborative partner that supports and amplifies human capabilities.

 

Specifically, the protagonists of Industry 5.0 will be collaborative robots and intelligent software. The robots are designed to work safely together with humans, without the need for physical barriers, and have sensors and intelligent systems that allow them to adapt to the operators’ actions. This synergy between man and machine not only improves ergonomics and safety at work, but also allows greater flexibility and customization of the production process, making the most of the unique qualities of both human intelligence and mechanical efficiency.

 

On the other hand, intelligent software, also called bots, are AI applications capable of acting for a user or another program in a relationship of reciprocal exchange and collaboration. Bots are already widespread and are able to perform automated and repetitive tasks with far greater speed and precision than a human.

 

Cooperation and customization will be the pillars of the transformation from the current Industry 4.0 paradigm towards the factory of the future. The redefinition of the operators’ role in production processes, coupled with the recognition of their value for product quality and customization, also make them central in the 5.0 era.

Humans at the center of the production model

Industry 5.0 will influence the world of work, creating new, better, and more specialized jobs. The use of artificial intelligence in the industry will benefit workers, not replace them.

 

What we expect is a redefinition of human activities in the context of closer integration between humans and robots, which will lead to higher-performance production and, in some ways, make work “lighter” for the worker, creating new job opportunities focused on innovation, data management, advanced maintenance of intelligent systems, and the human–machine interface, always with humans at the center of the processes.

 

At a glance, Industry 5.0 has the potential to reconfigure the employment landscape, fostering the emergence of a labor market that is more resilient and dynamic, and one that is in line with the values of a more humane and environmentally friendly economy.

Industry 5.0 for innovation and sustainable growth

Industry 5.0 offers unprecedented opportunities for innovation and sustainable growth. Completely digitalizing business processes enables companies to be more agile, to respond more flexibly to market fluctuations and customer needs, and to optimize resources. Adopting smart technologies can lead to greater operational efficiency, reduced costs, and improved product quality. Human–machine collaboration and an emphasis on customization can also open up new markets and improve the customer experience.

 

Sustainable development has long been at the center of European policies, firmly anchored in the founding treaties of the European Union. As a result, the focus of Industry 5.0 in this regard is on enabling the circular economy and energy efficiency models.

 

Specifically, this new industrial era encourages the adoption of processes that minimize environmental impact through energy efficiency, the use of sustainable materials, and recycling. The circular economy becomes a key pillar, pushing companies to rethink the life cycle of products from design to end of use, promoting the creation of durable, repairable, and fully recyclable products.

 

Thanks to Industry 5.0 solutions, manufacturing companies will develop circular processes that reuse and recycle natural resources, reducing waste and minimizing their environmental impact. This approach to sustainability also represents opportunities for innovation and competitive advantages for companies engaged in this transformation path.

sedApta: smart manufacturing 5.0

sedApta was born with OSA – Orchestrator, Skillaware and Analytics, a software suite that highlited and developed the needs of Industry 5.0 already about a decade ago.
Today, thanks to the use of innovative technologies, always making individuals the central hub for processes automation and digitisation, sedApta’s OSA+ solution supports companies in migration towards the Industry 5.0 paradigm.

OSA+ is a next-generation web ecosystem based on analysis standards that can provide new “capabilities” in terms of production capacity, supply chain management and change management, all constantly monitored and optimized by artificial intelligence.

 

Specifically, OSA+ provides:

  • Orchestration of processes, tasks and activities designed to meet the specific needs of companies operating in the smart manufacturing context.
  • Supporting non-expert users who needs to perform new processes, tasks and activities thanks to “training on the job”.
  • Analysing overall system performance through customisable Control Towers for each individual user, optimising results from a business, financial and sustainability perspective.
  • Monitor the supply chain environment with the help of a Digital Manager – Mrs Elisa – designed on artificial intelligence algorithms in order to:
    • obtain accurate information in the shortest possible time
    • take over executive and control functions, freeing the workforce from complex and repetitive tasks
    • minimize possible errors in performing procedures.

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