We asked some of our Manucore members for their thoughts on Industry 4.0, the questions it raises and the outcomes for their businesses. Answers from Mitsubishi Electric, Estee Lauder, Volvo Bus, and NanoPure Technologies. See what they have to say…
Uwe Brasecke, Plant Manager, Estee Lauder:
Industry 4.0 introduces networked production incorporating intelligent machines and real time data. Machines will be connected to a network, supply information and will use information to respond in an automated way. This networked production process will be accurate, cost effective and allow mass customisation of products.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) means machines with built-in technology can collect and analyse data in real time, transfer data over a network without human interaction and use it to self-automate and optimise the production process. Companies who manage to seamlessly implement machine connectivity to automate their manufacturing processes will accelerate above their competition.
As connectivity increases and information is more readily available, the challenge will be remaining flexible and responding to a connected consumer.
The indirect impact of social media and mobile shopping creates an environment where manufacturing needs to be more agile, but still needs to remain cost focussed. As connectivity increases and information is more readily available, the challenge will be remaining flexible and responding to a connected consumer. This creates an exciting focus to make manufacturing as agile as possible, but still cost effective. Manufacturers need to remain forward thinking, focus on tomorrow but implement the best practices for today.
Nicolas Strumane, Director Global Manufacturing Operational Excellence, Volvo Bus:
At Volvo we are using robotics in our standardised manufacturing processes. However, with the speed of innovation in intelligent robot technology and reduced procurement cost, there will be a trend of greater use of robots, even in less standardized processes. There might be a significant impact on our human workforce the more robots are introduced. Robotics are improving efficiency and quality assurance but we have a social responsibility as well.
The automotive industry has to respond to innovation in technology not only in production processes such as robots, but it must also respond fast to market developments such as electrification where normal engines are being replaced by electric engines, smart cars that offer drivers assistance, and buses that could be automated to control speed and traffic safety.
Industry 4.0 has a knock-on effect in high volume serial production. Organisations will have to embrace Industry 4.0 and new technologies to maintain competitive advantage.
Operational flexibility is essential to respond quickly to changes in business, volume and markets. Industry 4.0 has a knock-on effect in high volume serial production. Organisations will have to embrace Industry 4.0 and new technologies to maintain competitive advantage. There may be a shift in manufacturing from the Far East and underdeveloped companies where labour is cheap, back to the Western World, the US or to more technology-driven countries. Being closer to the consumer is also changing manufacturing processes. Increasingly the customer is deciding what we design, develop and produce instead of the other way around. One of the biggest challenges we face is to shorten the lead time as much as possible between order and delivery, so we have to setup manufacturing that is flexible and can respond to change.
Thomas Lantermann, Senior Business Development Manager, Mitsubishi Electric:
At Mitsubishi I’m responsible for new innovation in the area of the industrial internet consortium, Industry 4.0 and the revolutionary robot initiative. Digitalisation means manufacturing is becoming smarter and smarter. At MLF16 everyone agreed Industry 4.0 embodies so many different developments in the industry and everyone is talking about it, but we need further clarification on what it is.
Innovative developments such as analytics to collect information from the shop floor and value chain means we have so much information to add value for the customer through the production line. New technologies allowing for fully networked and connected machines are opening up opportunities for production.
Industry 4.0 presents a vision of self-controlling and self-organising production, but it remains a vision.
Industry 4.0 presents a vision of self-controlling and self-organising production, but it remains a vision. To move in the direction of digitalisation manufacturers need to begin with identifying pain points in the production line and fixing it with new technologies. This step-by-step process of considering new business and cyber security, and then moving in the direction of digitalisation will allow manufacturers to start with small projects and build.
Krzysztof Urbanek, CEO, NanoPure Technologies:
Industry 4.0 covering robotics and digitization has been a trend for a few years now and the idea of a digital factory that is fully automated is very appealing and really represents the future of manufacturing. Robotic companies can demonstrate their solutions but we need to see more examples of Industry 4.0 in action because as of now Industry 4.0 remains more a theoretical concept for many companies who are not able to fully deploy its technologies. We need to gain more perspective of possibilities for Industry 4.0 in manufacturing. Innovations and new technologies are constantly being deployed but manufactures must not lose focus on small continuous improvements that are equally important for organisation progress.
There are high costs involved, however, companies need to consider significant investment in these new technologies to improve their manufacturing processes.
Manufacturing has to become more agile to adhere to the Industry 4.0 concept. We need to be able to adapt very quickly to what the customer wants and be able to produce more customized products. Manufacturers need to develop an improved IT infrastructure and build solutions that facilitates information flow within the supply chain enabling real time manufacturing response to demand shift. There are high costs involved, however, companies need to consider significant investment in these new technologies to improve their manufacturing processes. Companies also need to invest in deployment management and focus on leadership techniques in order to successfully implement not only technology but also the right mindset that is necessary to fully deploy Industry 4.0.