Work instructions in Industry 4.0

You always need a repository to perform a series of operations hoping to get a result that conforms to the predefined standards. This is why work instructions and standard operating operating procedures are essential documents in the industry, whatever the changes that characterize it. Nothing seems to indicate they will disappear from factories anytime soon, but it is clear that they undergo changes as technology transforms, especially for Industry 4.0.

Before we look at the place of the work instructions in Industry 4.0, let’s recall the aim of the latter, and then the fundamentals of these documents.

What is Industry 4.0?

While the concept of Industry 4.0 has emerged in Germany as a strategic vision, the name has become almost universal and often replaces those chosen in various other countries.

We also talk about the 4th Industrial Revolution as it involves so much breaks and evolutions compared to what was in effect until then in the way of producing. Interconnectivity of plant parts and connectivity to the outside world through the Internet of Things, smart factory and cyberphysics systems are now ubiquitous in the industry.

This assimilates innovative technologies that bring profound changes in workstations. The cobotics tools (collaborative robotic systems) are gradually being installed. Virtual reality is developing and we even have gone beyond it by superimposing it on the real environment; it is augmented reality. 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, makes part production easier and faster. The digital model offers more opportunities for viewing projects.

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What are work instructions ?

The work instructions are the documents on which the operator relies on to perform all the operations within his position. These are the work instructions to perform in order to achieve a given result, respecting the predefined standards. The term “manufacturing sequences” is also used, mainly in the metallurgical and mechanical sectors.

This support guarantees the smooth running of the production line and the conformity of the products. As a result, it is crucial for quality, customer satisfaction and the competitiveness of the company.

To what work instructions look like in Industry 4.0 ?

Digital transformation affects all the parts of industry, including work instructions.

Once presented as textual documents in paper-based, but with explanatory diagrams and photos to better guide operators, they have benefited greatly from digitalisation. Work instructions are now available in models with a variety of media, including video clips, 3D files, forms. At the same time that these dematerialized work instructions facilitate the work of employees, they contribute to reduce training times and costs for newcomers.

Instructions and SOP are now displayed on tablets and smartphones. The good practices and safety instructions associated with the purely technical tasks related to the job are highlighted on these new supports, and their simplified control to reduce the risks of non-compliance.

How to make work instructions for Industry 4.0?

There are dedicated software solutions for creating, using, and analyzing operationnal documents for Industry 4.0. Picomto is the European leader in digitalisation solutions for work instructions. Do not hesitate to contact our experts to find out more.

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