Industry 4.0: The Five Steps Towards A Digital Supply Chain

Forbes: The key for a successful digital transformation of the existing supply chain, and therewith reaping the full benefits of DSC, lies in developing an orderly process for implementing and integrating the many technologies and capabilities required.

Japan looks beyond Industry 4.0 towards Society 5.0

Techworld from IDG: At the Cebit trade show in Germany, Japanese businesses want to go beyond smart factories, deploying industrial technologies to build a smart society

Infineon invests S$105 million in Smart Factory

Calvin Hui for Channel News Asia:  German semiconductor Infineon Technologies will invest S$105 million over the next five years into building a Smart Factory at its Singapore manufacturing facility. This is part of Infineon’s push to implement what it calls a Smart Enterprise Programme, encompassing horizontal, vertical and digital integration. For instance, it has introduced robots like automated guided vehicles, to facilitate the transportation of chips across different parts of the facility. Senior engineer Foo Say Wee, said: “For the lots delivery, it used to be carried out manually by the operator who has to search the lots and carry the lot and hand it to the equipment. But today, employing automation, the lot will be automatically delivered to the operator and after that we have robotic vehicles that automatically come over and transport the lots to the equipment." The company manufactures chips used in things like cars and electronic identification such as passports.   Cont'd...

Grocery 4.0: Ocado reshapes retail with robotics and automation

Jon Excell for The Engineer:  Online grocer Ocado is establishing a reputation as a major technology player. Jon Excell reports If prompted to name a UK company at the cutting edge of robotics and automation, few of us would cite one of the country’s best-known grocery retailers. But, as The Engineer learned on a recent visit to one of its key facilities, online supermarket Ocado is establishing a reputation as a major technology player: harnessing and developing machine-learning systems, Internet of Things concepts and robotic hardware to a degree that leaves many traditional engineering businesses in the shade.   Full Article:

The optimist's guide to the robot apocalypse

Sarah Kessler for Quartz:  Machines, you may have heard, are coming for all the jobs. Robots flip burgers and work warehouses. Artificial intelligence handles insurance claims and basic bookkeeping, manages investment portfolios, does legal research, and performs basic HR tasks. Human labor doesn’t stand a chance against them—after the “automation apocalypse,” only those with spectacular abilities and the owners of the robots will thrive. Or at least, that’s one plausible and completely valid theory. But before you start campaigning for a universal basic income and set up a bunker, you might want to also familiarize yourself with the competing theory: In the long run, we’re going to be just fine.  We’ve been here before.   Cont'd...

Designing for the digital world

Tim Fryer for Eureka:  Head in sand time is over – Industry 4.0 is happening and is here to stay. In this article, the first in a series, Tim Fryer spoke to some of the leading automation companies about what Industry 4.0 means to design engineers. The elevator pitch for Industry 4.0 would be something like ‘it is the digitisation of manufacturing and the supply chain’. The three previous industrial revolutions started with steam and mechanisation, progressed onto automated assembly lines at the start of the 20th century, and then the introduction of computers to the work place in the 1970s was the third.   Cont'd...

Japan worker shortage has only one winner so far: robots

Leo Lewis for Financial Times:  Earlier this week, Japanese TV audiences glimpsed a potentially revolutionary contraption from the Matsue College of Technology that rapidly separates closed shijimi clamshells into those with a live mollusc inside and those without. Cut to footage of a human sorter, expertly performing the same function at a rate of just 90 kgs of shijimi per day and whose job this machine seems destined to replace. In other parts of the world, the juxtaposition could seem cruel or politically charged; in Japan, it is almost celebratory.  The great conundrum for investors — and increasing preoccupation of sellside analysts attempting to talk clients out of underweight Japan positions — is whether the equity market provides a neat play on Japan’s deepening worker shortage and the promised surge in wages that has to date been all gong and no dinner.   Cont'd...

How Industry 4.0 and BIM are Shaping the Future of the Construction Environment

By Mark King, EMEA BIM Solutions Manager, Leica Geosystems via GIM International:  The construction industry is on the cusp of a new industrial age. The fourth industrial revolution, or ‘Industry 4.0’, will see construction coming in line with more digitally developed industries, which will revolutionise not only how physical structures are designed, built and maintained, but also how they are subsequently used. What it means in reality is open to interpretation and the ability to future-gaze. Some anticipate it will mean the use of smart materials and technologies to make our buildings intelligent. Others envisage that it will come to mean autonomous machinery carrying out aspects of production, with minimal human input. But what is commonly agreed is that it represents the use of technology to fundamentally improve the way we design and construct the world around us.   Cont'd...

Ericsson and China Mobile jointly demo the 5G-enabled Smart Factory at MWC 2017

Ericsson and China Mobile have jointly developed a 5G-enabled Smart Factory prototype using key 5G Core Network technology - Network Slicing. The prototype will be on display at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. The demo will simulate the assembly line in the Smart Factory environment, enabled by the 5G connected industry standard PLC connections.  Triggered by Made-in-China 2025 and Industry 4.0, the manufacturing sector has changed profoundly in China during recent years. Industries have engaged in a steady re-industrialization relying on ICT enhancements.  At the root of industrial revolution is the implementation of a reliable and flexible communication layer, capable of dealing with increasingly higher capacity allocations of on-demand manufacturing and adjustments.   View Video here:  

Campofrio Food Group Leads the Way in Digitization with Cisco Connected Factory Solution

Marketwired:  Campofrío Food Group, the leading international producer of branded processed meats, headquartered in Madrid, Spain, has cut the ribbon on a brand-new plant that boasts the latest in digital technology. With a gross surface area expanding 99,000 square meters and an estimated production of 101,400 tons a year, the 'New Bureba' plant is located in Burgos, in Northern Spain. It replaces the previous facilities, destroyed by a fire in November 2014, but is far from a standard rebuild, incorporating the industrial sector's very latest innovations. From the beginning of the design process, Campofrío seized the opportunity to create a 'smart' factory that connects machines, devices, sensors and people in real-time. The company selected Cisco Connected Factory solution to create a 'Factory 4.0' that would enable to manage and optimize its business processes and make well-informed decisions.   Cont'd...

Closing US Manufacturing Trade Deficit Would Create 1.3M Jobs, Says Tech Think Tank

The prevailing narrative says automation was the main culprit behind U.S. manufacturing job losses in the early 2000s, and that automation is now powering an unprecedented manufacturing technology revolution that will continue to displace jobs. But a new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) finds that both of these claims are false.  ITIF, a leading tech-policy think tank, finds that trade pressure and faltering U.S. competitiveness were responsible for more than two-thirds of the 5.7 million manufacturing jobs lost between 2000 and 2010. And rather than entering a "fourth industrial revolution," U.S. manufacturing productivity growth is actually near an all-time low. In light of these facts, ITIF concludes that U.S. policymakers should aim to close the country's trade deficit in manufactured goods by fighting foreign mercantilism and pursuing a national competitiveness agenda that hinges in part on boosting manufacturing productivity rates. The report estimates that successfully closing the manufacturing goods trade deficit this way would create 1.3 million jobs.     Full Press Release:

Manufacturers raise investment in next-gen tech, survey says

Dustin Walsh for Crain's Detroit Business:  U.S. manufacturers are rapidly boosting investment in advanced digital technologies, according to a survey to be released Monday by Troy-based technology business association Automation Alley.  The survey coincides with the association's 2017 Technology Industry Outlook event on Feb. 13 at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Nearly 400 manufacturing and technology business leaders are expected to attend. According to the survey, 85 percent of U.S. manufacturing executives responded they plan to increase existing budgets for new technologies, with nearly a third planning to increase budgets by up to 15 percent.  More than half of the respondents said they have a dedicated budget to technologies described as Industry 4.0, with the top three being cloud, cybersecurity and data analytics.   Cont'd...

S. Korea's Hanwha to develop smart factory platform

Pulse News:  South Korea’s leading conglomerate Hanwha Group plans to venture into the smart factory business, joining the burgeoning market dominated by General Electronics Co. (GE) and Siemens AG in the transitional age of industry and society heading towards full automation and practical robotics applications.  According to a senior official at Hanwha Wednesday, the group recently formed a task force team dedicated to the development of hardware and software that can help to make factories smarter, cost-efficient, and more productive through increased computing systems. Hanwha Techwin Co., the group’s defense and aircraft engine making unit, will first come up with a pilot model in automating factories that would be applied to other manufacturing subsidiaries.    Cont'd...

Number of Smart Factories in South Korea to be Almost Doubled

Cho Jin-young for Business Korea:  The Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy announced on February 2 that the South Korean government invests 90.5 billion won and the private sector invests 20.3 billion won this year so that smart factories can be built for at least 2,200 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the number of such factories in South Korea can be increased to 5,000 before the end of this year. The ministry is planning to diversify the types of smart factories, too. For example, the new smart factories are slated to include 500 clean energy-based ones for a higher level of energy efficiency and 50 cloud-type smart factories that are capable of connecting regions and various sectors of the manufacturing industry.   Cont'd...

Five steps to enabling a data-driven, smart factory

Alun Williams for ElectronicsWeekly:  he top strategic objectives in the manufacturing industry have remained consistent for years, with many centered on serving customers. Industrial companies want to deliver customers high quality products, on time, at a globally competitive cost. They also want to be able to flex production capabilities up and down as needed to quickly introduce new products to the marketplace. Pairing physical assets with intelligent gateways to gather, analyze and communicate data is driving enormous new efficiencies in manufacturing and business operations. New operational efficiencies enabled by IoT are generating significant returns in manufacturing.  Cont'd...

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