One Of Europe's Top Business Schools Is Helping Executives Navigate Industry 4.0

Seb Murray for BusinessBecause:  Industry 4.0 — a slew of technologies from robotics and 3D printing to virtual reality and data analytics — is rapidly reshaping the way we manufacture, distribute and consume products.

The Executive Master in Manufacturing Automation & Digital Transformation at ESCP Europe, is equipping executives with the tools they need to navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Below, Giovanni Scarso Borioli, Assistant Professor of Operations Management, outlines how.  Cont'd...

Chiefs hold back on smart factories after backlash

Peggy Hollinger for Financial Times:  General Electric, one of the world’s biggest industrial companies, estimates that digitising industrial machinery, networks and processes will not just bring down the costs of manufacturing. The data it generates will open new business opportunities, such as optimising maintenance schedules for customers or improving the design and quality of products. The resulting “industrial internet”, GE argues, has the potential to deliver global productivity improvements that could add $10tn-15tn to global GDP over 20 years.

No manufacturer can ignore the coming revolution. Yet many, in developed economies at least, are wary. A backlash against globalisation, fuelled by decades of decline in America’s rust belt and the erosion of blue-collar jobs, has already upset the status quo in the US, where Donald Trump’s protectionist slogans helped him to win the White House.
Almost half the 1,370 chief executives questioned in PwC’s annual Global CEO survey published this week fear that this latest industrial revolution will feed further distrust among their companies’ stakeholders — whether they be investors, employees or the wider public.  Cont'd...

Sharp Executive Says Plan for Foxconn LCD Plant in U.S. is Still 'On The Table'

Mitchel Broussard for MacRumors:  Foxconn and Sharp are looking closer than ever to building a manufacturing plant within the United States, according to one Sharp executive who said that the plan is still "on the table" (via Nikkei). The plant would mainly be focused on the manufacturing of LCD panels for TV sets and home appliances, but Foxconn is said to be considering moving iPhone production stateside as well. 
The news continues a rumor from last year born out of President-elect Donald Trump's comments on wanting Apple to make its products stateside. Foxconn laid out plans for such a move in December, along with Japan-based SoftBank Group, with each company hoping to create a combined 100,000 jobs in the U.S. over the next four years.   Cont'd...

YCF - 2017 could be year of smart factory

Katie Mallinson for B Daily:  2017 could be the year of the smart factory. That’s the opinion of Huddersfield-based YCF – the not-for-profit organisation committed to supporting the manufacturing industry and its supply chain.

The statement follows months of speculation around Industry 4.0 – the idea of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technology.

Simply, it’s the computerisation of manufacturing, involving systems that communicate with each other, monitor physical processes and make decisions. And YCF’s CEO Jill Mooney thinks that 2017 could be the year that manufacturers start to plan the implementation of such machinery.    Cont'd...

What are the business and security impacts of Industry 4.0?

Ben Rossi for Information Age:  Industry 4.0 will make manufacturing more efficient and productive. By optimising factories, it will directly improve yield. On the product side, it will also extract greater value from data for usage-based design and mass customisation, which in turn will open the way to new markets. On many levels, it will completely change the business model to an outcome-based approach.

Accenture estimates that automation, connectivity and embedded software can increase production line productivity by up to 30%. The shift from selling products to selling measurable outcomes will redefine whole industry structures. This is the shift to servitisation, whereby companies are using the Internet of Things (IoT) to find new ways to grow revenue and increase profits.

Industrial equipment manufacturers sell outcomes, like machine hours or price-per-user, rather than just products. For the customer it means less disruption, increased uptime, incremented factory yield and ultimately higher satisfaction.  Cont'd...

Japan's Rust Belt Counting on Robonomics to Run Assembly Lines

Yoshiaki Nohara, Toru Fujioka, and Daniel Moss for Bloomberg:  A withering factory town in Japan’s Rust Belt is looking for revival through a dose of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s "robot revolution."

Kadoma’s population has declined 13 percent as the nation ages, prompting mergers among elementary schools and emergency services departments. Factories can’t find enough people to run assembly lines, further threatening an industrial base that includes titan Panasonic Corp. and smaller businesses like Izumo Co., a maker of industrial rubber.

Yet Izumo President Tsutomu Otsubo doesn’t believe the solution involves finding more people. He’d rather find more machines to do the work so his company can capitalize on Abe’s plan to quadruple Japan’s robotics sector into a 2.4 trillion yen ($20 billion) industry by 2020.  Cont'd...

A New Use for High-Speed Fiber Optics: Connecting Smart Factories

Jennifer Baljko for EBN Online:  Machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT) have risen to the forefront of many strategic technology conversations.

Companies are revamping product designs and component capabilities to allow for seamless, real-time communication flows between devices. Executives talk about how constant transmission and automated analysis of machine-generated information will transform the way we live, work, play, drive and shop, and change the landscape of our homes, offices, cars, malls, supermarkets, hospitals, gas stations and every other place we move through on a daily basis.

As M2M and IoT shape business and operations strategies, influence product design and compel companies to re-examine how suppler and customer data is collected and used, a question begs: How will companies pool together all their internal factory and supply chain data in a way that matches the speed, consistency and reliability of what IoT promises? The factory, after all, is the heartbeat that keeps many companies operating, and a data bottleneck there comes with a costly implication.

Many in the industry in have started to realize that, and it's resulting in a deeper conversation around industrial IoT, or IIoT.  Cont'd...

Seven Career Paths Opening With the Industrial IoT

Joe McKendrick for RTInsights:  From maintenance experts to solution sellers, the industrial IoT offers numerous career opportunities.

If you’re looking for an IoT career, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) doesn’t sound quite as glamorous as the broader IoT, which promises smart homes, smart cars, smart cities, wearable sensors, and everything else that can be outsmarted in daily life.

But for IoT careers, industry is actually where most of the action will be taking place, and when you drill down and look what’s happening, a lot of this work can be far more rewarding and impactful than building smart toasters. This encompasses a range of activities, from real-time tracking tools and parts at industrial sites to analyzing data coming in from machinery, engines and power plants. The sky’s the limit.  Cont'd...

US Manufacturers Too Slow to Adopt Industry 4.0: BCG Study

Industry Week:  U.S. manufacturers recognize the potential of the digital technologies known collectively as Industry 4.0 to create value, but they are largely approaching the opportunity in piecemeal fashion and may miss out on the significant business benefits these technologies offer, according to new research from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Nearly 90% of manufacturing leaders surveyed by BCG regarded adopting Industry 4.0 technologies as a way to improve productivity, but only about one in four see opportunities to use these advances to build new revenue streams. Many are pursuing isolated initiatives scattered throughout the company, BCG found in its new report, "Sprinting to Value in Industry 4.0," without a clear vision and coordination from the top.  Cont'd...

IIoT's new business models

Smart Industry:  Today, most companies see the value of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as additional information— data—that can help them do the things they already do, just better and more efficiently. And there lies a lot of low hanging fruit in 

But for some companies, a much greater value is coming in the form of whole new capabilities—new products, services and businesses that could not exist without IIoT technology. “This higher value of IIoT is hidden in a lot of people’s minds—they’re not able to see the potential,” said Joe Sinfield, senior partner, Innosight and tenured professor of civil engineering, Purdue University. Sinfield spoke at September’s Smart Industry 2016 conference in Chicago about how individuals and companies can learn to see and take advantage of these new opportunities.

“IIoT will transform virtually all industrial companies,” Sinfield said. How will the IIoT ecosystem evolve, and where is value shifting? How can industrial companies spot and capture related opportunity? What are the strategic roles available for industrials? What shifts in strategic planning are needed to unlock the value of IIoT?   Cont'd...

Robots won't kill the workforce. They'll save the global economy.

Ruchir Sharma for The Washington Post:  The United Nations forecasts that the global population will rise from 7.3 billion to nearly 10 billion by 2050, a big number that often prompts warnings about overpopulation. Some have come from neo-Malthusians, who fear that population growth will outstrip the food supply, leaving a hungry planet. Others appear in the tirades of anti-immigrant populists, invoking the specter of a rising tide of humanity as cause to slam borders shut. Still others inspire a chorus of neo-Luddites, who fear that the “rise of the robots” is rapidly making human workers obsolete, a threat all the more alarming if the human population is exploding.

Before long, though, we’re more likely to treasure robots than to revile them. They may be the one thing that can protect the global economy from the dangers that lie ahead.  Cont'd...

Closing tech gaps can fortify advanced manufacturing, save $100 billion

FRAN WEBBER FOR NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY (NIST):  To spur significant innovation and growth in advanced manufacturing, as well as save over $100 billion annually, U.S. industry must rectify currently unmet needs for measurement science and "proof-of-concept" demonstrations of emerging technologies. This is the overall conclusion reached by economic studies funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of four advanced manufacturing areas used to create everything from automobile composites to zero-noise headsets.

"Gaps in the technology infrastructure--including the lack of reliable measurement and test methods, scientifically based standards, and other formal knowledge and tools--limit advanced manufacturing's further development and adoption," said NIST economist Gary Anderson, coordinator of the economic studies prepared by RTI International (link is external), an independent nonprofit research institute.  Cont'd...

The Audi smart factory of the future

Jason Siu AutoGuide.com:  Audi is developing a “Smart Factory” where robots will work together with humans to build cars.

The German automaker first talked about its Smart Factory last year, envisioning a plant with human-robot collaboration, 3D printed parts, drone material transport and piloted cars that drive themselves off the production lines. A new video has been released that gives us a glimpse into that factory, proving that it’s not as far-fetched as you might think. In fact, Audi appears to be making great progress with drones transporting steering wheels, although it may not seem very effective in the video.  Cont'd...

Delta buys Unicom to advance smart factories

Christine Chou, The China Post:  Delta Electronics, a provider of power management solutions, will acquire a 100 percent stake in industrial software provider Unicom (羽冠) for NT$351 million (US$10.9 million). 

In a bid to speed up its smart manufacturing operations, Delta Electronics' board of directors agreed on Friday to acquire Unicom - merging the leading Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) software provider into a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta.

Unicom, which specializes in Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), has been providing solutions to streamline factory management and equipment monitoring for almost 20 years.

Delta Electronics chief executive officer Cheng Ping said with the arrival of the internet of things, manufacturers must move towards smart production to adapt to changing market demands.

The development of core technologies and systems for smart manufacturing requires cross-disciplinary cooperation to speed up the transition and seize market opportunities, Cheng said.  Cont'd...

How Industry 4.0 is changing human-technology interaction

Ben Rossi for InformationAge:  Accelerated by technologies such as 3D printing and intelligent robots, the role of the human machine interface (HMI) is becoming more sophisticated.

This is altering the way industries approach increasingly complex processes of machines and systems in order to improve efficiency and decrease downtime.

Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT) are at the centre of new technological approaches, development, production and the entire logistics chain - otherwise known as smart factory automation.

HMI is implemented in any industry where human intervention with a machine or automated device is necessary. The high rate of demand for HMI is being driven by the need for enhanced efficiency, data security and compliance, mobility, remote services and reliable hardware.  Cont'd...

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