The Manufacturer: best blogs of 2016

Posted on 3 Feb 2017 by Jonny Williamson

The Manufacturer received a lot of insightful and thought-provoking contributions during 2016. Here’s 12 of the most shared and popular.

[In no particular order]

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Manufacturers are no stranger to the advent of big data.

Big data analytics is transforming manufacturing

In a TM exclusive, The Alan Turing Institute and Warwick Analytics shared the findings from a recent study into how the use of big data and analytics will transform – and indeed, is transforming – high value manufacturing.

Innovation: transforming ideas into manufacturing

The UK has been a global powerhouse in the creation of new ideas and innovations, yet the nation hasn’t been as strong in translating those to commercial success. Nigel Rix, of the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), discussed how manufacturers can obtain funding to help overcome the risks and challenges of innovation.

Internet of Things: from talk to reality

By now, the mystery surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT) is starting to dissipate. However, though the definition of IoT may be known, the possibilities offered by the connected future are less well understood. Autodesk’s Diego Tamburini shone a spotlight on some of the new revenue and customer connection opportunities IoT offers manufacturers.

Five tech trends reshaping manufacturing

Manufacturing has entered a digital revolution that is fundamentally shifting the way that companies in the sector operate. K2 revealed the technologies poised to be a major catalyst for growth across the sector, enabling manufacturers to ramp up productivity and output, as well as focus on new business opportunities.

Using Stratasys additive manufacturing technology, Volvo Trucks has reduced turnaround times on certain clamps, jigs and supports from 36 days to just two days
Using additive manufacturing, Volvo Trucks has reduced turnaround times on certain clamps and jigs from 36 days to just two – image courtesy of Stratasys.

Servitization in manufacturing today

Manufacturers’ awareness of servitization – offering services tightly coupled to products, rather than standalone goods – increased dramatically during 2016, with its ability to boost growth for individual businesses and the industry at large proving a tantalising prospect. Antony Bourne provided an overview.

3D printing: changing the shape of manufacturing

Although diverse 3D printing projects continued to capture the selective gaze of mainstream media, Andy Middleton, EMEA president for Stratasys, lifted the lid on where the technology was making a more important and widespread impact.

Business intelligence made simple

Business intelligence software has swiftly rose in prominence over recent years, though the sizeable investment needed coupled with concerns over its ultimate usability may be hampering wider adoption. Andy Gough, general manager at Datawright, simplified the issue by discussing the use of ERP software for business intelligence.

Employee engagement: leading change

The UK’s so-called ‘productivity puzzle’ is often discussed, but not often in relation to employee engagement. Founding director of valuingYOU and The Manufacturer Top 100 Exemplar, Fiona Anderson, explained why employee engagement matters to every business, regardless of size or sector.

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‘Human Factors’ (ergonomics) provides a scientific approach to human-centred design.

The role of human factors in the future of manufacturing

A key aspect of getting the design of new automated technologies right is how well we understand how they will impact on and be best assimilated with human operators. Human factors and ergonomics provide the scientific approach required to prepare workers for an increasingly automated manufacturing environment. Dr Sarah Fletcher reported.

10 common ERP mistakes & how to avoid them

Implementing an ERP system can be a game-changer for an organisation; yet manufacturing is full of horror stories from those companies who’ve gotten it wrong. HSO explained how manufacturers can avoid the pitfalls and get the most of their ERP systems.

Five ways predictive maintenance cuts down on costly downtime

The past year saw the global industrial sector begin a fundamental transformation the likes of which had never seen before, driven largely by the emergence of big data, cloud technologies, the Industrial Internet of Things and machine learning. Co-founder of DataRPM, Sundeep Sanghavi, explored the transformation in relation to predictive – rather than simply preventative – maintenance.

Making driverless cars mainstream

The sheer number of projects worldwide involving driverless or autonomous vehicles is testament to the importance the global automotive industry is placing on the technology. Yet there are a number of factors that both manufacturers and policymakers will have to overcome first they become a part of everyday life. Cognizant’s Prasad Satyavolu reported.