To say the Internet of Things (IoT) is a hot topic within the manufacturing industry would be an understatement. As we’ve discussed in depth right here on our blog, IoT is disrupting past ways of working, digitalizing processes to drive efficiencies and increase business intelligence.
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Machines are the driving force in manufacturing. Because they play such a huge part in the production line, it’s very tempting to ignore the warning signs of fatigue, wear and tear in the hope that issues will never materialise. After all, carrying out machine maintenance and pressing pause on production will ultimately lead to a monetary loss, won’t it?
The very nature of manufacturing means that waste is a real issue. Whether it’s energy by-products emitted by machinery or offcuts of materials used in the manufacturing process, minimising wastage is a priority for every manufacturer and not just in terms of cost.
In this blog post, I will be discussing the cutting-edge technology of the 1870s. You may be wondering whether I’ve lost my mind— “the 1870s? That’s not relevant to me”. Before you hit that back button, hear me out; we can learn a lot more from nineteenth century manufacturing than you may think.
With markets becoming even more competitive and boundaries blurring further, being a manufacturer is no longer as simple as making things. The industry as a whole is in the midst of a servitization transformation, as manufacturers venture into the services field — a space that was traditionally reserved for specialist service providers.
As a busy manufacturer, you might wonder how much time you can realistically spare to keep up to date with industry resources and blogs. After all, it’s time that could be spent elsewhere, managing the factory floor or handling other business-critical activities. However, the real question is: can you afford not to keep up to date?
As a manufacturer, you’ll already understand the importance of your warehouse within your business. As the place where raw materials arrive and are stored, as well as where finished products are kept before shipment, your warehouse is a hub of activity. Without effective warehouse management, your entire set-up could descend into chaos — with disastrous consequences for your supply chain.
You’ll likely have already heard the terms Internet of Things (IoT) or Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) bandied around. However, if you’ve put them down as simply being the latest in a long line of manufacturing buzzwords, you’re very much mistaken.
With technology rapidly impacting all areas of our lives, it was naive to believe that manufacturing would be exempt from the digital revolution. We’re officially in the midst of Industry 4.0, dubbed the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ — but has it lived up to expectations?
Here, I take a look at how the current manufacturing landscape has been shaped by Industry 4.0:
Industry 4.0 termed “the fourth industrial revolution” is set to transform manufacturing over the next few years. Not a new technology in itself – instead, Industry 4.0 is a fusion of a number of significant and emerging technologies: Big Data, advanced analytics, the Internet of Things, digital modelling, additive manufacturing, computer-integrated manufacturing and so on. In short, these various technologies can come together to enable manufacturers to do things they couldn’t do before.
A recent Oxford study estimates that by 2034, 47% of all jobs will have been taken over by a robot—either in the form of a physical robot on the factory floor, or a robot in the form of a computer program, or a combination of the two. Far-fetched? Far from it: this, say experts, is likely to be the future of manufacturing.
Technology isn’t standing still. But while all of us are used to the rapid pace of change of information technology—IT, in other words—it might be a surprise to realise just how much ordinary manufacturing technologies are changing, as well.
Here’s a thought: how competitive would your business be if it had to rely on an ERP system that was 15-20 years old? You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that the answer is “probably not very competitive”.
This year, it’s been impossible to miss the buzz surrounding Industry 4.0, the ‘fourth industrial revolution’. And while the world of business is full of fads and fashions—anyone remember Efficient Consumer Response?—most observers agree that Industry 4.0 has undeniable substance. But talking about Smart Factories is one thing, and building them quite another.
A survey by The Manufacturer magazine earlier this year found that 62% of manufacturing businesses—almost two-thirds—were either ‘aware’ or ‘very aware’ of Industry 4.0. For a term that wasn’t coined until 2011, that’s quite remarkable.
The world doesn’t stand still. So, it’s important for manufacturers to keep abreast of emerging manufacturing technology trends—both in terms of IT, as well as core manufacturing technologies.
Catagories: Industry 4.0 / IoT
Virtually unheard of until two or three years ago, the Internet of Things looks set to be a major disruptive force. Field service—and field service businesses—are squarely in its sights. Because when coupled to Big Data and predictive analytics, the Internet of Things is likely to totally transform how field service businesses operate.
What exactly is Industry 4.0? It’s a question that many manufacturing businesses are asking, as the phrase starts to crop up in more and more conversations. And the answer may surprise: very genuinely, Industry 4.0 could be the best opportunity you’ve had in years to grow your manufacturing business.
Walk around almost any automotive plant, and it’s difficult to miss the extensive use of industrial robotics. Nor is it difficult to see why. Vehicle model runs are measured in years; the parts being handled are heavy; the line is fast-paced—and for actions that are highly repetitive, but which must be performed accurately, robots are ideal.
Now here’s a question. Assume that manufacturing supply chains are 100% reliable, and deliver to manufacturers exactly the raw materials and components that they require, when they require them. In such a scenario, how much raw material and component inventory would manufacturers need to hold?
Although the expression ‘the Internet of Things’ (IoT) may not yet be universally familiar or understood, its effect - how it will change the way we live and work is becoming increasingly apparent. As a technology company, the IoT and how it will affect our customers, is definitely on our solutions radar.
In December 2015, the crew of the orbiting International Space Station needed a ratcheting socket spanner. The only problem: there wasn’t one on board. But the space station did have a 3D printer, shipped up on a re-supply flight the previous month. And so, using CAD instructions e-mailed to the space station by NASA, space station commander Barry Wilmore switched on the 3D printer and duly fabricated the required socket spanner.