Innovations in Manufacturing: Industry 4.0 and beyond
Technology today has played a vital part in advancing many areas of people’s lives. Smart phones and 5G, broadband connections, remote working, virtual events and electric cars are just some examples of ground-breaking events that have changed our lives completely.
Today, companies can create customisable solutions and products that were difficult to imagine just a few years ago. Technology is shaping the world of manufacturing. Buzz words, specifically Industry 4.0 and Smart Factories are transforming the manufacturing sector’s entire value chain. Industry 4.0 is revolutionising the way companies manufacture, improve and distribute their products.
Manufacturers today are experimenting with and integrating new technologies, including IoT solutions, mobile computing and AI, into their operations. These Smart Factories are now equipped with advanced sensors, embedded software and robotics to analyse and collect data to allow people to make better decisions - and that's only the beginning. To achieve the future vision of the digital factory with a totally integrated supply chain there is one main challenge – connectivity. At the recent Panasonic Manufacturing Innovation Forum, we brought together some of Europe’s leading proponents of manufacturing innovation to examine some of the latest developments and to see how challenges were being addressed.
Advice for innovation
Deloitte demonstrated the capabilities of its Smart Factory innovation centre and offered advice to manufacturers considering their next innovations. They recommended to initially think broadly and imagine what could be possible when innovating in manufacturing. Then to quickly focus on delivery and to start to create real value early, so that the possibilities become visible to a lot of people in the business. Next focus on scale because only through scale is real business value achieved. Lastly, to always make sure that innovation acts as a nucleus to transform the whole function. They warned against operating like a satellite that is disconnected or only thinly connected with the core business.
Innovation in action
Luxury sports car manufacturer Lamborghini explained how it transformed its production process for the creation of its latest Urus model. The company used digital transformation to improve quality, productivity and work conditions. It implemented a digital Manufacturing Execution System (MES), moved its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to the Cloud and installed an Automated Guiding Vehicle manufacturing system with collaborative robots to work alongside its highly skilled workforce. The company also uses virtual reality both for car concept design and to simulate the production process, alongside 3D printing for rapid prototype parts production. Lastly, the business uses augmented reality to provide training to its workforce.
In a look at other smart factory developments, supply chain execution specialists from Zetes spoke about innovation in Goods Arrival, Panasonic spoke about the benefits of using mobile computing in the quality control processes on the assembly line, and the latest automated machinery and management software for the manufacturing plant. Logiscend looked at the latest developments in asset tracking in manufacturing and Librestream spoke about remote collaboration for the maintenance of machinery.
If you are considering how to implement Industry 4.0 in your organisation, it’s not too late to watch all the great presentations and share in the experiences of these customer implementations and the technology experts.