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Industry 4.0

Dr Khalil Khan
6 June 2017

“Amidst the noise within the drive to Industry 4.0, a strategy is forming amongst enlightened businesses”.

On 25th May 2017, METaL attended the Wales Quality Centre’s ‘Industry 4.0: A Pragmatic Approach to the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ event, at the Waterton Centre, Bridgend.

The event was very well organised, attendance and participation by local industries was excellent, and crucially many companies were able to reference instances where they had adapted technologies with positive outcomes.

Exhibitions featured novel use of Quick Response (QR) Codes, radio-frequency identification (RFID), robotics, additive layer manufacturing, and much more.

Exhibit by Russell Smith, of Balluff Ltd, demonstrating the use of QR codes in manufacturing.

The event also included the following presentations:

  • Tata Steel UK – Identifying Day to Day Challenges Round the Current Environments - how to move from today’s problems to tomorrows solutions?
  • Control 2K – Taking the Negative Situation and Turning It Positive.
  • Control 2K -Industreweb 4.0 – A Potential Solution for SMEs.
  • Wales Quality Centre – Utilising Data - Populating Your Management System with Quality Data Satisfying QS Standards.
  • University of South Wales – Cyber Attack & Digital Forensics on Industrial Systems.
  • Astute 2020 – Collaboration Opportunities & Intelligent Data Analytics.

All of the presentations were excellent in quality, and were very informative. Speakers shared practical examples of movement towards Industry 4.0. One such example was the use of carefully selected sensors which connected via a secure network , gaining valuable data which contributed towards enhanced product flow.

The impact of this was not only a positive effect on yield, but also the accumulation of data which could later be analysed and ultimately used in regards to equipment reliability and maintenance scheduling. Analysis of the data could also be used when designing algorithms to forecast trends in order to enhance overall functionality.

Whilst it was easy to recognise the many benefits of Industry 4.0, we also were reminded that the adoption of innovative, and sometimes disruptive, technologies comes with its own risks.

A presentation entitled ‘Cyber Attacks and Digital Forensics on Industrial Systems’ by Daniel Lewis of the University of South Wales, highlighted the various risks to industry. These include the compatibility of modern technology with existing capabilities, and the increasing number of cyber-attacks on businesses who are unprepared for the technological advances propelling the future of industry.

Overall, it was a stimulating, eye-opening event which we were very glad to have attended. We are looking forward to learning more about Industry 4.0 at the SME Cluster event, ‘Pragmatically Stepping into the Twinned Digital World of 4IR’, which takes place on Thursday 16th November 2017. For more information on this event, please follow the link below: http://www.smecluster.com/events/2017/11/smecluster-event-4-pragmatically-stepping-into-the-twinned-digital-world-of-4ir/