The challenge ahead is that not only manufacturing technologies will change drastically but the whole business environment, in which Japan may have to strive to overcome other than IoT super next generation automation.

Japan Embracing Industry 4.0 And IoT To Leap Into Next Industrial Automation

Junko Nirmala for | ManufacturingTomorrow


Japan appears to be well equipped for the next industrial revolution than it appears at first sight. Now the main roles are played by developed countries which possess skill in production technology and IT utilization such as Japan, Europe and the U.S. The keyword is “connection.” Promoting the new informatization is the key to innovation.

Bearing in mind how global industry is looking to unify information technologies (IT) and operational technologies (OT) as part of IIoT and Industry 4.0 and how these initiatives are mainly being driven by the U.S. and Germany, this article sheds light on Japanese perspective is trending.

Every Japanese Manufacturing company is using the term Industry 4.0 and IIoT extensively, atleast thats how the main stream media represents the trends. The overall strategy appears; these concepts are striving on existing platforms but with careful steps aimed at extending from OT into Extended IT. When it comes to IIoT-related organizations, Japan has the Industrial Value Chain Initiative (IVI), as well as a few other organizations. IVI in particular is a unique concept because it has taken the first step towards forming a counter-standard to Germany’s Industry 4.0 to connect businesses via the Internet. The aim of IVI is to establish a structure that will connect even small and mid-sized companies beyond affiliates and across sectors.

An IVI company provides how to create common communications standards for linking factories and facilities as well as how to standardize security technology. Germany's Industry 4.0 looks to connect information systems at companies to synchronize processes from ordering to parts procurement, production to shipment and follow-up services with the goal of leaner operations and inventory management. European companies calls the aim of the process "mass customization" - allowing the manufacturing of small amounts of many different products with the same level of efficiency as mass production. It's even suggested that standardizing the whole manufacturing process worldwide could lead to companies using each other’s factories.

Looking at direct collaborations between companies in Japan, it’s easy to see the potential impact of IIoT and Industry 4.0 on the global automation market. The idea is to move from intranet to internet - from having proprietary communications structures within organizations to having communications structures with outside organizations.

Japanese Experts certainly agree that, new technologies and interactive machines will allow new services and production methods like small lot production in a big style. As the world moves towards mass customization helping small companies to thrive, and old industrial countries to revive – through a return of production from emerging countries.

Under Industry 4.0, German companies rely on big data technology to analyze volumes of information and use artificial intelligence to find the most efficient way to manufacture. Factories constantly communicate with one another. This way, manufacturers can eliminate a loss even when making small amounts of many different products and achieve the same level of efficiency as mass production, While it is yet to be seen Japan`s specific approach and road map  with Japan's method of mass production, once seen as the best model for manufacturers worldwide.

Japan is strong in information and communication technology, manufacturing processes, automotive and machinery industries, automatization and robot technologies, electronic parts and end products. In addition, Japan has companies like Fujitsu or Hitachi that play a role in Big Data and the solutions business for the brave new world – from agriculture to manufacturing and services. This gives the country at least a fighting chance, especially if Japan Inc. succeeds to combine the American platform approach with the German manufacturing thrust.  The challenge ahead is that not only manufacturing technologies will change drastically but the whole business environment, in which Japan may have to strive to overcome other than  IoT  super next generation automation.


About Junko Nirmala
Junko Nirmala is a Tokyo resident with 17 years of Professional experience in Technology and business consulting services. Her diverse background includes Advisory assignments completed for 70 plus Japanese companies on Globalization, Founder of startup company in Green Technology, conducting Training and seminars for Global Workforce in Japan and so on. Currently she is involved in Promoting Japan Robots Industry. She has authored 3 books and consistently writes for newspapers and magazines in Japan.
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of ManufacturingTomorrow

Comments (1)

Hi Junko Nirmala, As IoT is booming at rapid speed, IIoT is becoming a challenge and requirement but when it comes to IT security is major area of concern. The Edge gateway is most important component in IIoT as the data on manufacturing floor needs to be collected without any unplanned maintenance it is very important to have a industrial connectivity on the Edge Gateway so that the data from Industrial controllers can be pushed to cloud platform for further data analysis, platform must be designed considering all this important parameter (Security, Industrial connectivity, AI, ML).

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