Growing support for UK companies to implement Industry 4.0 / 4IR

 

Fourth Industrial Revolution

 

Growing UK support for companies to implement Industry 4.0 / 4IR

 

The future factory is a sense of how manufacturing will develop. A recent report suggests total manufacturing costs will be reduced by up to 20%, depending on the material costs. In addition, manufacturers will benefit from improvements in flexibility, quality, speed, and safety.

 

Increasingly support for industry is coming from suppliers of automation products. Business organisations such as EEF, and from the large consulting organisations. The UK Government is also investing in manufacturing hubs connected to universities. The aim is increased collaboration between universities and manufacturing, and expectation of them delivering centres for innovative manufacturing.

 

Rather than a big bang, most manufacturers have started to selectively implement their vision for the factory of the future. These include small scale pilot projects to improve productivity in specific areas of their processes.

 

The latest Smart Machines & Factories newsletter gives a taste of the array of technological developments available to help those implementing an 4IR strategy and transforming to a smart manufacturing era. By connecting production systems, machines, processes and work pieces, intelligent networks can be created along the entire value chain that can control each other autonomously.

 

The inaugural Industry 4.0 Summit (4IR) was held in Manchester recently, promoting improved productivity through advancing factory automation technology from a wide range of industries.

 

At the conference, Mitsubishi Electric showed examples of high-speed robot in a demo manufacturing cell exchanging real-time production information to an enterprise level platform via an iQ PLC. The robot cell highlighted not only how easy it is to integrate plant floor automation systems with business systems, but how manufacturers can use the information flow between the two to optimise production and reduce downtime.

 

Two further demonstrations followed this theme: A Mitsubishi Electric ‘pick to light’ Guided Operator Solution was implemented on the stand, highlighting not only how this could reduce operator errors in picking parts for assemblies, but also how this picking information could be transmitted to higher level systems.

 

A second example highlighted an integrated approach to predictive maintenance. Mitsubishi Electric demonstrated its Smart Condition Monitoring (SCM) technology to provide detailed diagnostics and analysis, and sent to higher-level systems for ongoing trend analysis.

 

There is little doubt that the ‘smartening’ process of industry and manufacturing is going to change the face of global industry forever. Activities such as Cloud, Fog and Edge computing will be the norm, not the exception

 

To get involved, register for the Smart Machines & Factories journal, dedicated to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)

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