Last week, Exmos was delighted to present on behalf of CeeD Scotland (Centre for Engineering Education and Development) at Angus Training Group in Arbroath to a room filled with engaged and inquisitive professionals on Getting Started with Industry 4.0.
We’ve learned over the years that Industry 4.0 means many different things to different people. To the IT team, this could mean IoT and bringing technology to the factory, which leads to security concerns. To the operational staff, this could simply mean better understanding and visibility of what’s going on in the factory environment. And to board members, this could mean an immense business opportunity, or a tremendous cost, depending on your persuasion.
“What does Industry 4.0 mean to you?” was the first question we asked our audience as we began our presentation, with most clearly linking the movement to technology; “IoT”, “Robots” and “AI” were all common answers in the room.
However, “uncertainty” was a word which drew an agreeing murmur. Exciting, yes, but not nearly confirmed as a sure thing as of yet.
The way Exmos believes engineers should be looking at Industry 4.0 is with data at the centre of every strategy. You won’t get very far without it, and it’s essential to your business capability to produce valuable insight that will provide true reward.
Data collection and monitoring, however, remains a terrific challenge for many manufacturers today, with manual processing of data still reigning supreme in many environments.
Automating data collection needs to be the first step in making your vision a reality. Without it, the data you’re analysing is old and provides no real-time insight into your operations. Thankfully, the solution to affordably automating data collection in challenging production and engineering environments for most is here. Whilst not the only means, the cost of IoT sensors dropping significantly in the past two years, building your very own Industrial Internet of Things is now a reality that most can get on board with.
Yes; Industry 4.0 often comes with a lot of hype, and a lot of buzzwords like AI and Machine Learning that you may find overcomplicates what you’re trying to achieve.
But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Industry 4.0 is simply about breaking down both functional and data silos in your organisation and making smarter decisions. AI, VR and smart robotics may look impressive, but they’re not essential to getting started on your path to digitisation.
Many thanks to David Nicholson at CeeD and Garry Talbert at the Angus Training Group for their help and hospitality, as well as everyone who attended on the day.
Posted by Kirsty McIntosh on Friday, June 1, 2018
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