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Does quality 4.0 exist?

07 April 2014: Edgar Dietrich

Nowadays, topics like big data, big smart data, smart data, predictive analytics, Industry 4.0 or smart factory are discussed more and more frequently. How do these topics and the corresponding developments affect the field of quality management? Is there something like quality 4.0 as we might therefore assume? Q-DAS has an answer to this question: “quality4industry“!

These terms represent subject areas that are inextricably linked. For a better explanation of these relations, this article first focuses on the meaning of these terms and their relevance to quality in industrial production. It is also clear that these terms just mark the beginning of a whole new development. We cannot foresee the impacts of this development completely for the same reasons that few could have thought that the commercialization of the Internet 20 years ago would affect us in such profound ways today. It is the same with the idea of Industry 4.0 - only time will tell the impacts resulting from these new opportunities. We can assess the benefits, advantages and disadvantages only in the future. However, we already have to deal with all that is known and venture a glimpse into the future, develop possible scenarios and estimate their probability of occurrence. This is the only way to set the right course early.

This article is an attempt to explain the topics, terms and issues linked to this new development from a Q-DAS perspective, to provide answers to the questions and to give helpful suggestions. Feel free to contact us for a personal discussion of these topics.

Big Data

The German Bitkom [1] association defines big data in an article as follows: “Big data refers to the economically reasonable acquisition and application of decision-relevant knowledge gained from qualitatively versatile information structured in different ways. These pieces of information undergo rapid changes and are provided in an unknown amount.“ According to this definition, big data means that companies try to measure, analyze, calculate, assess and evaluate data from many different unstructured sources that frequently change, so far.

Why does Big Data exist at all?

The fundamental condition is the possibility to store plenty of information cost-efficiently in the smallest space. Further reasons are the many automated sensors and recording systems as well as the high transfer rate and processing speed providing and transferring realtime information generally without any manual input. These aspects lead to the creation of very large data volumes whose extent is currently unknown. As an example, the generation of five exabytes (one exabyte is one quintillion bytes) took

  • more than 1000 years by 2003
  • 2 days in 2011
  • 10 minutes in 2013

This trend will continue and there is no end in sight. Figure 1 shows an example of the data traffic over time in conjunction with the respective technology. In 2020, this data traffic will be more than 50 times the traffic we have today...

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