Industry 5.0 (the next step on from Industry 4.0) encourages human-robot interaction

Industry 5.0 vs. Industry 4.0

05 Sep 2023

Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0 represent two different stages in the development of industrial processes while sharing a common denominator: the implementation of automated equipment and digital solutions.

Industry 5.0 is not an alternative model designed to replace Industry 4.0, but a development that puts technology at the service of people. In other words, Industry 4.0 is based on the interconnectivity between machines and IT systems, while Industry 5.0 looks to combine the roles of human beings and machines to complement and enhance each other’s strengths.

Definition of Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0

Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, introduces the automation and digitalisation of industrial processes. This stage is characterised by the interconnection of systems such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) with the use of data to improve efficiency and decision-making.

Industry 5.0, often referred to as the Fifth Industrial Revolution, is a new development model promoted by the European Commission and described in the report Industry 5.0 – Towards a sustainable, human-centric and resilient European industry. Industry 5.0 focuses on human-machine collaboration on tasks that require creativity, complex decision-making and emotional skills. In the Fifth Industrial Revolution, the human factor acquires greater prominence and is positioned at the centre of the production process.

Differences between Industry 5.0 and Industry 4.0

Unlike Industry 4.0, which focuses on the automation and digitisation of processes, Industry 5.0 combines the unique respective abilities of human beings and machines to achieve more flexible and personalised manufacturing.

  • Convergence of technologies. Industry 4.0 focuses on the digitalisation and interconnection of industrial manufacturing systems through the use of advanced technologies such as the IoT and cloud computing. Industry 5.0, for its part, is geared toward collaboration between human beings and robots within the same work environment to combine human skills and knowledge with the efficiency and accuracy of machines.
  • The role of people. In Industry 4.0, human beings remain an indispensable part of the manufacturing process, but repetitive and routine tasks are performed by machines and automated systems. On the other hand, Industry 5.0 aims to promote the role of workers in the production process by boosting unique human abilities that add value, such as creativity, decision-making and complex problem solving.
  • Personalisation and adaptability. Industry 4.0 emphasises the mass personalisation and flexible manufacturing that makes it possible to adjust and tailor products to meet each customer's needs. Industry 5.0 takes this trend one step further by encouraging highly personalised and on-demand manufacturing where products can be individually and specifically manufactured as per customer preferences.
  • Key technologies. In Industry 4.0, the predominant technologies include concepts such as IoT, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality and cloud computing. These technologies are used to automate processes, analyse large amounts of data and lay the foundations for smart and predictive decision-making. In Industry 5.0, these technologies are joined by advances in collaborative robotics (cobots), exoskeletons, augmented reality and sophisticated AI systems that enable closer interaction between human beings and machines.
  • Sustainability. Industry 4.0 aims to improve efficiency and decrease energy consumption through automation and the use of cutting-edge technologies. However, Industry 5.0 places greater emphasis on the use of renewable energy sources and the design of energy-efficient systems to achieve more sustainable manufacturing and reduce the carbon footprint.
Industry 5.0 encourages the development of manufacturing systems based on renewable energy
Industry 5.0 encourages the development of manufacturing systems based on renewable energy

Similarities between Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0

Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0 share similarities in terms of the application of advanced technologies, interconnection and digitalisation, and personalisation and flexible manufacturing:

  • Automation and cutting-edge technology. Both Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0 focus on the use of state-of-the-art technologies to improve industrial processes. These technologies facilitate the connection and communication between machines and systems, which increases efficiency and productivity.
  • Interconnection and digitalisation. Both industry models are on a mission to interconnect industrial systems and processes. Digitisation is a key element, since it allows analogue information to be converted into digital data to simplify its storage, analysis and subsequent use.
  • Personalisation and flexible manufacturing. Personalisation in manufacturing is an intrinsic characteristic of both Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0. While Industry 4.0 resorts to flexible, modular systems, Industry 5.0 takes personalisation to the next level. How? By contributing to a more flexible and nimble manufacturing process where people and robots work together to manufacture products that meet individual customer needs.

Change of model: the transition to Industry 5.0

Although we are still immersed in improving and optimising Industry 4.0 with the cutting-edge technologies available on the market, the transition toward an industry that is more resilient, sustainable and focused on the human factor could gain strength in the future. More and more companies are introducing human-machine collaboration to optimise supply chain processes, improve efficiency and offer high-quality products and services.

On the way toward Industry 5.0, the difference could well be made by those organisations that take steps to improve human-robot interaction in warehouses. Research by the Technical University of Munich and the University of Cologne in Germany reveals that to improve decision-making and collaboration in robotised warehouses, senior managers must consider the following four pieces of advice: create effective human-robot teams in the warehouse; recruit and train the right professionals for proper human-machine interaction; assign tasks and develop operational policies for people and machines; and, finally, design attractive and direct human-machine interactions.

Mecalux helps companies boost productivity in their warehouses by providing solutions that combine the use of technology and human collaboration. Contact us so that an expert consultant can analyse your requirements and help you find the technology systems best adapted to the new needs of Industry 5.0.

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