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Wednesday, 10 August 2022 20:38

How industry 4.0 technologies support sustainability in business

By Guest Writer

GUEST OPINION: The term Industry 4.0 was first coined in 2011 to describe the fourth industrial revolution. This revolution is characterised by a combination of new technologies transforming how we live, work, and interact with the world around us. One of the most important aspects of Industry 4.0 is the way it can help businesses to become more sustainable. 

Sustainable businesses are those that have minimised their negative impact on the environment and society while also maximising their positive contribution. Industry 4.0 technologies can help businesses achieve sustainability in several ways. 

For example, they can help to reduce energy consumption, improve resource efficiency, and increase transparency and accountability. In addition, Industry 4.0 technologies can also help businesses to engage more effectively with their stakeholders, build trust and create social value. As such, it is clear that Industry 4.0 technologies offer considerable potential for supporting sustainability in business.

Here are some of the vital Industry 4.0 technologies available today that can help your business support and maintain sustainable operations: 

Mining Asset Management Software

The mining industry has long been associated with negative environmental impacts, such as deforestation, water pollution, and soil erosion. However, the industry is now embracing sustainability, and mining asset management software can play a key role in supporting this shift.

By tracking the location and status of equipment and the resources being extracted, mining companies can ensure that their operations are efficient and sustainable. In addition, mining asset management software can help companies to create comprehensive plans for managing waste and reducing their carbon footprint.

As the mining industry continues to evolve, asset management software will become an increasingly essential tool for supporting sustainable practices.

Data Analytics

By evaluating data sets related to energy consumption, waste production, and resource use, businesses can identify areas where they use more resources than necessary. With this information, businesses can implement changes to reduce their environmental impact. 

In addition, data analytics can be used to measure the success of sustainability initiatives over time. This information can help businesses fine-tune their efforts and ensure that they progress towards their sustainability goals.

Smart Sensors and Connected Devices

Businesses can gain valuable insights into their operations by continuously monitoring energy use, water consumption, and waste output. This data can then be used to make adjustments that reduce environmental impact. In addition, connected devices can automatically track and report on sustainability metrics.

This gives businesses a transparent view of their progress and allows them to identify areas where further improvement is needed. 

3D Printing

3D printing has been around for a while now, but it is only recently that the technology has begun to be widely adopted in various industries. One of the key benefits of 3D printing is its potential to support sustainability in business. 

By eliminating the need for traditional manufacturing processes, 3D printing can help to reduce waste and lower emissions. In addition, 3D-printed products can often be made using recycled or biodegradable materials, further reducing the environmental impact of production. 

As more businesses begin to explore the use of 3D printing, this technology will likely play an increasingly important role in supporting sustainability in business.

Advanced Robotics

Robotics can help businesses to reduce their energy consumption, waste output and overall environmental impact. For example, robots can automate tasks such as material handling and sorting, reducing emissions and energy use. 

In addition, robots can be programmed to recycle materials and components that would otherwise be discarded, further reducing waste. 

Artificial Intelligence

As the world becomes increasingly digitised, businesses are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to help them achieve their goals. While AI has many potential applications, one area where it is particularly valuable is sustainability. 

AI can help businesses to reduce their carbon footprint by optimising their operations and supply chains. It can also be used to develop new sustainable products and services. In addition, AI can help businesses to engage customers on sustainability issues and encourage them to adopt more sustainable practices. 

Virtual and augmented reality

VR and AR can bring sustainability goals to life like never before, giving businesses an immersive way to engage employees, customers, and other stakeholders in the work that needs to be done to create a more sustainable future. 

For example, VR can transport people to the Arctic to see firsthand the effects of climate change, or it can take them inside a power plant to understand how it works and what improvements can be made to reduce emissions. 

Additionally, AR can be used to overlay real-time data on products or packaging so that consumers can make more informed choices about the items they purchase. This is important because almost 90 per cent of all consumers want to know they are making a difference through their purchases

By using VR and AR technologies, businesses can help close the sustainability knowledge gap and empower people to take action.

In short, there are numerous ways in which Industry 4.0 can support sustainability in business. As businesses become increasingly aware of the need to operate more sustainably, Industry 4.0 technologies are likely to become even more important.

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