Industry 5.0 and the impact on manufacturing companies

The 2023 automation market observatory, published by Anie Automazione , in addition to traditional market data, is completed by the interesting in-depth notes “Industry 5.0 and the impact on manufacturing companies” which takes inspiration from the document “From Industry 4.0 to Industry 5.0 – Towards a sustainable, human-centric and resilient European industry” (January 2021, European Commission).

Maurizio Cacciamani

In the introduction, the authors highlight the differences between Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0. In Industry 5.0 it is not enough to use the enabling technologies already partially present in Industry 4.0 such as individualized human-machine interaction, intelligent materials, digital twins and industrial simulation, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics technologies and those for smart energy, but explains how they should be used: respecting people and the environment and as a support for dealing with geopolitical changes and natural disasters.

Collaborative Industry

Unlike Industry 4.0, Industry 5.0 will therefore be a Collaborative Industry, i.e. a business model characterized by cooperation between machines and humans, with the ultimate aim of giving added value to production by creating customized products that respect consumer needs . In “Definition and characteristics” we underline the fact that Industry 5.0 goes beyond the production of goods and services for profit, and is based on three fundamental elements: the centrality of man (Anthropocentrism), environmental sustainability and resilience or robustness in production.

The key technologies

These are the key technologies of Industry 5.0: Personalized human-machine interaction; Technologies inspired by nature and intelligent materials; Digital twins and simulation, Technologies for data transmission, storage and analysis; Artificial intelligence; Technologies for energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy storage and autonomy.

The challenges

Regarding the challenges, the following are mentioned: Digital literacy; Design and critical analysis of Artificial Intelligence applications; Management and leadership approaches, Problem Soving and Design Thinking; technological, organizational and environmental safety of work environments; Intercultural, multidisciplinary mentality; Awareness and culture of personal data protection; Communication skills; Ability to manage complexity and benefits.

The impact on manufacturing companies

Taking a manufacturing company as an example, the possible impacts of Industry 5.0 could concern: the drafting of the sustainability report; exclusion/facilitated access to financing based on the company’s ESG scores and criteria; brand reputation (more and more consumers base their purchasing choices on the sustainability of the companies and products they sell); ability to attract and retain the workforce; optimization of consumption and use of the resources necessary for production, strategic for protecting profit margins; ability to create innovative business models based on the circular and regenerative economy. From this list, which is certainly not exhaustive, we can understand how embracing the values ​​and pillars of Industry 5.0 is strategic for the competitiveness of organizations.

But what do businesses think?

Recently, Innovation Post, Industry 4 Business and Internet 4 Things, in collaboration with the RISE Research & Innovation for Smart Enterprises Laboratory of the University of Brescia, carried out a survey on Industry 5.0. The questionnaire collected the opinions of around 100 companies of various sizes: 46.5% micro; 20.9% small; 12.8% average; 19.8% large.

The survey confirmed that Industry 5.0 is a topic that divides opinions between those who believe that the greater focus on sustainability and human centricity legitimizes the adoption of a term that indicates a new phase and those who instead believe that it is about achieving full maturity of Industry 4.0 paradigms. Therefore not a new “industrial revolution”, but the realization of the promises of the Fourth. One of the most striking data emerging from the survey concerns the obstacles that slow down companies’ investments. For 91% of those interviewed, lack of skills represents the main obstacle, followed by too high costs (42%), lack of technological solutions suited to their needs (30%), too rapid evolution of technologies (26%).

The man in the center

Digital transformation will represent a crucial strategic prerequisite, playing a leading role to benefit not only compliance, correct data tracking and reliable and timely reporting, but will demonstrate both sustainability with respect to the specific company’s business model, and the validity of the sustainability strategy in the eyes of investors. There will be an ever-increasing number of organizations involved, including SMEs who, as buyers and suppliers of large companies, will inevitably be called upon to make a green “turn” and adopt sustainable business models. In conclusion, Industry 5.0 is a multidisciplinary design methodology where the boundaries between disciplines blur and rigor prevails, a technological, aesthetic and legal, but also ethical commitment of fundamental social relevance.

At the same time, Industry 5.0 will allow successful companies to promote innovation, efficiency and transparency, offering society a perspective centered on humans and their social inclusion.


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