Industry 5.0 and the impact on manufacturing companies

The automation market Observatory 2023, published by Anie Automazione, besides traditional market data, is completed with interesting in-depth notes: "Industry 5.0 and the impact on manufacturing companies", making reference to the document “Da Industria 4.0 a Industria 5.0 - Verso un’industria europea sostenibile, umanocentrica e resiliente” (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 underline the differences between Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0. For Industry 5.0, it is not sufficient to use the enabling technologies already partially present in Industry 4.0, such as man-machine interaction, intelligent materials, digital twins and industrial simulation, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics technologies and those for smart energy, but explains how they are to be used: with respect for people and the environment and as a support for facing geopolitical changes and natural catastrophes.

Collaborative Industry

In contrast with Industry 4.0, Industry 5.0 will be a Collaborative Industry, that is, a business model characterised by collaboration between machines and humans. With the ultimate aim of giving added value to production, creating personalised products that meet consumers’ needs. In "Definition and characteristics", the fact that Industry 5.0 goes beyond the production of goods and services with a view to profit is underlined, and is based on three fundamental elements: the centrality of man (Anthropocentrism), environmental sustainability and the resilience or robustness in production.

The key technologies

The key technologies of Industry 5.0: Personalised man-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

With regards to the challenges, the following themes are covered: Digital Literacy; Design ad critical analysis of Artificial Intelligence applications; management and leadership approaches, Problem Solving and Design Thinking; Technological, organizational and environmental safety of work environments; Intercultural, multidisciplinary mentality; Awareness and culture of the protection of personal data; Communication skills; Ability to manage complexities and advantages.

The impact on manufacturing companies

Taking as an example a manufacturing company, the possible impacts of Industry 5.0 could relate to: the drawing up of the sustainability report; facilitated exclusion/facilitated access to funding on the basis of the company’s ESG scores and criteria; brand reputation (more and more consumers base their purchase choices on the sustainability of companies and the products they sell); ability to attract and keep labour; optimization of consumption and use of the resources necessary for production, strategic for safeguarding profit margins; ability to create innovative business models based on the circular and regenerative economy. From this list, certainly not exhaustive, it is possible to understand that embracing the values and cornerstones of Industry 5.0 is strategic for organisations’ competitiveness.

But what do businesses think?

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 have recently carried out a survey on Industry 5.0. The questionnaire collected the opinions of around 100 business of varying dimensions: 46.5% micro; 20.9% small; 12.8% medium; 19.8% large. The survey confirmed that Industry 5.0 is a topic that divides opinion between those who believe that the greater focus on sustainability and human-centricity legitimises the adoption of a term that indicates a new phase and which, instead, believes that it is the achievement of full maturity of the paradigms of Industry 4.0. Not, therefore another “industrial revolution”, but the fulfilment of the promises of the Fourth industrial revolution.

Some of the most striking data emerging from the survey relate to the obstacles that slow down companies' investments. For 91% of the interviewees, lack of expertise is the main obstacle, followed by too-high costs (42%), the absence of technological solutions appropriate for their particular needs (30%), the too-rapid evolution of technologies (26%).

Man in the centre

Digital transformation is a crucial strategic prerequisite, playing a major role not only in conformity, in the correct tracking of data and in the creation of reliable and timely reporting, but will demonstrate sustainability both with respect to the business model of a specific company and to the validity of the sustainability strategy in the eyes of investors.

There will be more and more businesses involved, including SMEs which, as purchasers and suppliers of large companies, will inevitably be called upon to make the “green” transition and adopt sustainable business models. In conclusion, Industry 5.0 is a multidisciplinary design methodology in which the boundaries between disciplines blur and rigor prevails, a technological, aesthetic and legal commitment, 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 prospective centred on men/women and their social integration.

As mentioned, the analysis by the “Osservatorio dell'industria Italiana dell'automazione 2023" is available at page

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