Technology is changing the face of manufacturing. Some businesses may already use smart processes and innovative solutions worthy of an ‘Inside the Factory’ visit – while others will be at the very start of their technology journey. Either way, manufacturers need to leverage the benefits of smart-technology and embrace the robot revolutions in order to remain competitive, meet customer needs and respond to social and environmental challenges.
Brexit, the climate emergency and the global pandemic have only added to the case for accelerated development and investment in technology – particularly given the need for robust disaster recovery solutions and sustainable business models.
That’s why we have developed this site, which provides you with:
Phrases such as ‘smart manufacturing’, ‘ Factory of the Future’ and ‘industry 4.0’ are becoming more prevalent. But what does this terminology mean?
Essentially, we’re looking at the use of technology to improve production in terms of
It’s about using flexible systems that can automatically run production processes to drive value and self-optimise performance.
Digitisation is the invisible technology (such as 5G connectivity connected data, Artificial Intelligence software) whereas automation is the visible technology (for example robots, smart machinery).
The potential benefits of smart factories are huge, including:
The primary reasons businesses give for not adopting the technologies is the perception that the technology is:
The use of smart technology also gives rise to numerous legal questions and issues such as:
For these reasons, the UK manufacturing sector is lagging behind many other nations in the uptake of smart factories. Currently, the UK manufacturing sector ranks 22nd worldwide for robot units installed by 10,000 employees (85 units).
However, that is beginning to shift and a new mind-set is underway.
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Focus on your business' strengths – make investments in key technologies
Understand the objectives – have a clear business case and understand the outputs
Find the right talent and invest in upskilling your existing workforce – to manage the change throughout the organisation and develop the technology
Understand who owns the intellectual property and the assets – and ensure these are protected
Get the right level of legal protection – to ensure your contracts minimise your risk and offer you the right level of flexibility