Industry 4.0

“Industry 4.0 – the digitising of the factory and supply chain – is set to be the biggest change in manufacturing industry since the introduction of the first robots.” The Manufacturing Technology Centre

Industry 4.0 is a phrase that has been taken from the German Industrie 4.0 and refers to the fourth industrial revolution which is perceived to be  automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things and cloud computing and can sometimes be referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things, Cyber-physical systems or machine-to-machine communication (M2M).

As The Manufacturer writes “industry is experiencing another step change in productivity, driven by market trends for globalisation, individualisation, and the need for resource efficiency, but also by technology developments linked to computing, the Internet of Things and the pace of change in miniaturised microprocessors.” It highlights aspects such as Industrial Software, Energy Monitoring & Control, Safety Systems, Cyber Security & Industrial Wireless & Distributed Intelligence as the five technology trends that will optimise a company’s technology base and give them a  competitive advantage.

They have recently published a new report entitled The Manufacturer Industry 4.0 UK Readiness Report which tries to answer questions about how well aware  manufacturers are of the opportunity that is offered by Industry 4.0, what benefits they see in Industry 4.0, and how prepared are they to invest in Industry 4.0 capabilities designed to deliver those benefits?

The EEF also published a report in 2015 Manufacturing, Britain’s Future,  asserting that more work needs to be done urgently to keep the UK manufacturing sector competitive. They produce some interesting statistics:

  • 88% say the UK should be taking a leading role in the 4th industrial revolution– 66% say that UK manufacturing’s ability to compete globally will depend on keeping up with advances in technology
  • 14%, however, say the UK is readily equipped for a leading role – the main challenges are the levels of investment required (70%), impact on skills (59%) and keeping on top of technological advances (58%)
  • Half of manufacturers (50%) believe that the rapid advance in technology will enable more reshoring of production back to the UK – 63% say there will be increased demand for highly skilled workers
  • 78% say that Government, industry and academia must work together to secure the UK’s role in the 4th industrial revolution.

Deloitte have also produced a 2015 report entitled Industry 4.0 Challenges and solutions for the digital transformation and use of exponential technologies which informs the debate as well.

Here at the OptimiseHub we have an open mind about what Industry 4.0 actually is in the British context, but we do know that UK businesses do need to embrace digital technologies to remain competitive in an ever more globally competitive market.

Her are some of our ideas around the Industrial Internet of Things displayed through a simple Infographic.

We will be organising several events to celebrate and explore the opportunities offered by Industry 4.0 so if you would like to be a part of this debate, do get in touch.