Industry 5.0: more human, more sustainable and more resilient

Industry 5.0, also known as the fifth industrial revolution, is a new model developed and promoted by the European Commission. They aim to encourage an industrial activity that goes beyond technical or economic objectives such as productivity and efficiency. Industry 5.0 also wants to promote other objectives essential for the future of the sector, such as human well-being, sustainability and resilience.

Industry 5.0: definition and origin

The term Industry 5.0, which was developed by the European Commission, emerged as a supplementary concept to Industry 4.0. This new approach encourages industrial development towards a production model geared not only to technological innovation and economic growth but also to a commitment to environmentally

responsible practices 

supports resilience strategies that strengthen the sector in the face of sudden disruptions such as the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This program, the main features of which are summarized in the report Industry 5.0 – Towards a sustainable, human-centric and resilient European industry, is the result of discussions during two virtual workshops that took place in July 2020. Various research and technology organizations and funding institutions from across Europe took part in these two gatherings. All participants agreed on the need to better integrate social and environmental priorities of the European Union into technological innovation, by shifting the focus from an individual technology to a systemic perspective.

Differences between Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0

Industry 5.0 is not an evolution of Industry 4.0, nor is it an alternative model to replace it. In a way, it underscores the path that Industry 4.0 has taken. As explained by the European Commission, the fourth industrial revolution has focused on the digitization of processes and the use of artificial intelligence to increase productivity and efficiency, neglecting the role of workers involved in the production process or the shift to more sustainable development models.
In Industry 5.0, the human factor once again plays a major role and is once again at the centre of the production process. 

According to this premise, technology must serve people and not the other way around. Therefore, the goal is to arrive at a full human-machine collaboration scenario. In other words: If Industry 4.0 is based on the networking between machines and computer systems, then Industry 5.0 strives for the connection of the roles of humans and machines in order to strengthen and complement each other.

Industry 5.0 promotes sustainable robotization
Industry 5.0

Characteristics of Industry 5.0

The growth and development model promoted by Industry 5.0 is based on three pillars:

  • Sustainability. The development of production systems that use renewable energies is one of the requirements of Industry 5.0. With the target of reducing CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030, the European Commission states in its report that industry must be sustainable to respect the limits of our planet. For this reason, she recommends the development of circular processes that reuse and recycle natural resources, reduce waste and minimize environmental impact.
  • focus on the human: Industry 5.0 puts people at the centre of the production model. The premise is clear: instead of asking ourselves what we can do with the new technologies, we should consider what the technology can do for us. In addition, this more social and humane perspective confirms that the use of technology must not violate the fundamental rights of workers, such as their right to privacy, autonomy and human dignity.
  • resilience: Resilience has become a key factor in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The European Commission report states that geopolitical changes and natural crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic are revealing the vulnerability of our industries. For this reason, a commitment of the new concept of Industry 5.0 is to have the ability to adapt to adverse situations and obtain positive results from them.

With its sustainable, human and resilient approach, Industry 5.0 wants to successfully overcome disruptions and challenges and uses technology to do so.

Technologies on the way to Industry 5.0

According to the European Commission and within the technological framework, there are six key factors to drive Industry 5.0 forward:

⦁ 1) Individualized interaction between man and machine.
⦁ 2) Bio-inspired technologies and smart materials.
⦁ 3) Digital twins and simulation.
⦁ 4) Transmission, storage and analysis technologies.
⦁ 5) Artificial Intelligence (AI).
⦁ 6) Energy efficiency, renewable energy, storage and autonomy technologies.

This technological framework must be a strategy to achieve the goals of Industry 5.0. For example, the predictive analysis offers tools to strengthen the resilience of the sector with the aim of preparing for possible unforeseen events such as climate changes or fluctuations in demand.
Furthermore, cobots (collaborative robots) – machines designed to collaborate with workers and relieve them of the most strenuous, dangerous or repetitive jobs – are increasingly playing an important role in manufacturing plants and warehouses. This is encouraging, as the cobot boom confirms the feasibility of a technological model in which machines and humans co-star and work in harmony.

Industry 5.0, a paradigm shift

Industry 5.0 is still in its infancy as we are currently busy improving and optimizing Industry 4.0 using the technologies available in the market. Nonetheless, the ultimate goal is to foster a more resilient, sustainable and human-focused industry.
Industry 5.0 offers benefits for employees, companies and our planet. At this moment of a paradigm shift that we are in, not only are efficiency and productivity sought, but the goal is a production that respects the limits of our planet and values ​​the worker.