Leading the Fourth Industrial Revolution: How Engineers can prepare for the Future

The next generation of mechanical designers is learning how to design and model tomorrow’s innovative products. Industry 4.0—the combination of digital processes such as the Internet of Things, automation, robotics, and additive manufacturing.
The issue of the relationship between technology and work has returned to the heart of the public debate. This is by no means a new discussion: fear of jobs being destroyed by the emergence of new tools for producing goods and services, and their new processes, crisscrossed the history of the industrial economy.

The new Industrial Revolution appears to have been enabled by technologies that are increasingly available at low cost to companies and individuals. These technologies are destined to evolve at an unpredictable pace, in unpredictable ways and with unforeseeable content. Their consequences may impact business models and production processes; above all, they are ushering in new ways of relating to consumers and the markets through more efficient, personalized and immediate channels of coordination enabled by technology.

Industry 4.0 applications today

Industry 4.0—the combination of digital processes such as the Internet of Things, automation, robotics, and additive manufacturing—has a disruptive impact on mechanical engineering design. Not only do engineers need to redesign processes and operations to accommodate these new advances, Industry 4.0 impacts how they design products for increasingly smart manufacturing facilities.  

Engineering at the Heart of Industry 4.0

While many may fear losing relevance in the new revolution, engineers can take comfort in knowing that their work will remain valuable. In fact, engineering will be the very thing that drives many of the pending advancements and solves some of the most pressing challenges.

Engineers from all sectors are already behind the much of the new era’s progress. The scope of engineering’s influence will only continue to grow as emerging tech and markets develop. As such, engineering is poised to experience a renaissance - new applications and jobs will be popping up around every corner, especially in disrupted industries.
Industry 4.0 has recently emerged for flexible mass production of better products with reduced time and development cost. This also means that students, especially engineering graduates, need to acquire new competences.

The professional development of the lecturer is also an important element for technological and digital transformation. There needs to be a transition period of which the lecturers are willing to facilitate the process of changing their pedagogy and teaching practices comfortably. A blended classroom model that consists of traditional teaching, online learning, and flipped classroom approaches is suggested for integrating the pillars of Industry 4.0 into an engineering curriculum to better prepare graduates.

In short, the race to get ahead should be measured. Industry 4.0 is unavoidable, but smart manufacturing requires smart planning and smart investments. Technology can transform a business, but it can just as easily destroy it. There are many intricacies and preliminary steps to consider in embracing a more forward-thinking Industry 4.0 strategy, starting with laying a proper foundation and outlining clear strategic objectives. Long-term strategic planning is critical to success.

KDU offers Diploma in Mechanical Engineering programme is designed to provide students with strong technical, analytical, and problem-solving skills necessary for a variety of careers in the field of mechanical engineering. This programme is suitable for students who are interested in the design, technology, construction and development of solutions for engineering problems. Catering to the demands of the engineering industry, this diploma will produce graduates who are not only skilful but also well-equipped with current and relevant knowledge in the advancement of this engineering discipline. Every student will have the opportunity to handle high end / industrial grade machines and equipment in the engineering laboratories. KDU has an excellent combination of academics who are active researchers and industry specialists who can provide real-world insights to students.