09:43 AM


Industry 4.0 captures the power of the Internet of Things to create smart, hyper-productive factories operated and optimized through connected sensors capturing millions of data points daily, says Wayne Visser, Professor, Computer Sciences and IT.

Smart factories decentralize action and decisionmaking to individual machines and gadgets, and sensors know what’s happening elsewhere, says Visser.

“These sensors have some intelligence and can do some of their own thinking. That is a big shift for industry. And if an assembly line is intelligent, what happens to a product depends on the product itself.”

This means the same assembly line can create different bottles of dish soap for various customers or handle car parts in different ways. That‘s a tremendous productivity advantage.

Smart factories constantly crunch vast amounts of complex data in the cloud, adjusting for optimization, identifying bottlenecks and anticipating failures before they happen.

Transitioning to a smart factory requires both a huge capital investment and expertise, says George Miltenburg, Associate Dean of Engineering Technology.

“Big multinationals are on their way to being worldclass smart factories, but smaller factories are far behind. That’s where Mohawk wants to be: the college that can help small manufacturers become smart and join Industry 4.0.”

Through experiential projects, Mohawk computer science and engineering students are being equipped with the skills to design, network and configure smart and secure connected industrial systems, build and program sensors, and move data through cloud protocols. Mohawk partners IBM, Rockwell, Siemens, Cisco and FANUC provide critical expertise and resources.

“We are developing our capabilities with the idea that Mohawk will be a leader in the ramp-up of Industry 4.0,” said Miltenburg. “The big players see a commercial opportunity in smart factories, but they need us to help the smaller players adopt the technology.”