Industry 4.0 is simply more than a fad word according to Sales and Marketing Director for SMC Corporation, Tim Keech.
Due to competition and cost cutting, manufacturers have turned to Industry 4.0 for its long-term benefits, and it won’t be going anywhere in 2020.
“We’re competing both locally and on an international front where many manufacturers are already advanced in the implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions,” said Mr Keech.
“Australia should leverage the benefits of implementing Industry 4.0 solutions to remain competitive.”
Mr Keech notes that the challenges that will be alleviated via the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies include:
- Cost reduction
- Energy savings
- Compliance with environmental initiatives of consumers
- Stringent health and safety standards.
“Some of the most recent challenges addressed by Industry 4.0 solutions is meeting the evolving expectations of consumers, such as immediate access to products and services and access to more detailed information about the products.”
A challenge that Industry 4.0 sees is the need to ensure both production and people evolve at a rapid pace.
“We need people who can interpret and utilise the data which Industry 4.0 will bring,” explained Mr Keech.
This skill can only come through ‘on the job’ experience, making it critical for STEM undergraduates to be closely aligned and integrated with industry.
SMC has developed a Cadet Program that ensures evolvement, not only as a business but as an employer.
“Through much-needed skills transfer, we are training technical people in sales, operations, logistics and administration to ensure they have a comprehensive overview of the business. These cadets are earmarked for future roles in the business and will be highly adaptable to changing economies,” said Mr Keech.
Additionally, SMC is placing more engineers in the field of energy savings and has been setting up digital transformation departments.
“As a multinational with over 60 years’ experience, we draw on global expertise and skills to ensure that our local teams are trained up and ready to add value.”
Security and IOT
Tim believes that no one company is immune to cyber security threats.
“Fear of such risks may initially hamper the appetite for investing in Industry 4.0 technology. It is however a matter of educating customers with industry proven solutions and processes that are available to limit exposure and protect their business.”
Shrinking resources, climate change and power hikes continue to affect business.
“We cannot ignore this factor,” Mr Keech said.
“It puts pressure on the supply chain and impacts our ability to compete – both locally and globally. Drought conditions continue to affect our farmers and we are now finding that reduced access to reliable water is having similar impacts on the mining and manufacturing industries.”
SMC supports Australia’s 2030 climate change targets with their active energy saving efforts.
“The recent success of SMC with several multinational manufacturers demonstrated real savings at the compressor.”
SMC’s team of engineers also have the ability to work closely with customers to meet their energy saving mandate.
“We have the ability to identify areas of savings, from something as simple as identifying excessive leakage through to optimising the pressure and flow through the use of regulators, boosters and more.”
“2020 promises to be an interesting year but manufacturing is gearing up for the changes that are required to remain competitive,” concluded Tim.