EEF and Oracle have launched a free factsheet to help manufacturers understand Industry 4.0
EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and Oracle have published a factcard with the key information UK manufacturers need in order to understand, prepare for and capitalise on the opportunities surrounding the 4th industrial revolution (4IR).
4IR is being driven by connectivity, big data and other rapid advances in product and process technology. Eight in ten manufacturers (80 percent) say that this next industrial transformation – which is global - will be a business reality within the next ten years. EEF says this makes it vital that manufacturers are up-to-speed.
The factcard is designed to encourage manufacturers to think about how they can successfully incorporate new technology into their business strategy to drive growth and productivity. It demystifies how 4IR technologies can improve efficiency and be used in products, the manufacturing process and across supply chains.
“4IR will be crucial for UK manufacturing. Manufacturers are aware that it will be a game changer – not just for investment in technologies, but for the cutting-edge, high-level skills required alongside,” explained Ms Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at EEF.
“The speed of this new industrial revolution is such that UK manufacturers will need help and support to adjust and capitalise on its opportunities. Knowledge and understanding will be key, which is why we are collaborating with Oracle and have created this free factcard to help get our sector up-to-speed and to encourage companies to share ideas and best practice.”
Adapting and advancing
The factcard is part of a wider drive by EEF and Oracle to ensure that firms have support and information along with practical tips and case studies of how other manufacturers are adapting to the new industrial age.
But while UK manufacturers are gearing up for the 4th industrial revolution they are aware of the need to invest. According to new research, over eight in ten (83 percent) say that they will need to invest in staff skills in order to adopt new advances in technology. At the same time, over six in ten (65 percent) recognise that they will need to invest in management skills as they set about boosting their company’s knowledge and understanding at a strategic level.
Firms are already investing in multi-purpose production lines (38 percent), capital equipment with embedded sensors and controls (33 percent) and cloud solutions (29 percent). And within the next five years almost two in ten manufacturers will have invested in the 3D simulation of manufacturing processes (18 percent), augmented reality (17 percent) and fully autonomous robots (16 percent).
The new face of manufacturing?
The findings also suggest that new technologies will start to change the way factories look in a relatively short space of time. Within the next five years, almost three in ten manufacturers will be using rapid additive manufacturing techniques (3D printing) while those using cloud solutions will have leapt to 46 percent. Almost four in ten (38 percent) will have invested in capital equipment with embedded data analysis - big data will have started to become business as usual in factories across the UK.