Where are manufacturers on their Industry 4.0 journey?

Pre-conception, conception, evolution and revolution are the phases of digital transformation for manufacturers according to EEF, where does your business sit?

As the report shows, some manufacturers are already utilising digital and opportunities that could optimise their business – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

The manufacturing sector is undergoing digital transformation as it moves into Industry 4.0, from increased automation and cobots, to smart factory processes and digitalised services.

EEF’s latest report examines digital transformation and provides data on where exactly manufacturers sit on their journey to Industry 4.0 and an entirely optimised process.

The report discusses how to achieve the ambitions manufacturers are hoping to reach in the near future, some of these include boosting productivity, improving profit margins and increasing UK sales.

The technologies that manufacturers believe will make these aims a reality are, according to EEF, increased use of cobots, augmented reality and smart connected practices.

The adoption of such digital technologies will likely reshape and transform the manufacturing process and sector, including supply chains and business models.

Industry 4.0 journey

Pre-conception: Firms have not implemented or planned Industry 4.0 strategies.

Conception: How can technology help? Where can Industry 4.0 enhance businesses?

Evolution: Current best practices begin to merge with technology that optimises businesses.

Revolution: Entire business has adopted and adapted technology that enhances the company entirely.

As the report shows, some manufacturers are already utilising digital and technological opportunities that could optimise their business, whilst others could reap the benefits from beginning their Industry 4.0 journey.

Technological change in manufacturing – and the world – is happening, countries and businesses that are ambitious in this change, will maximise the benefits it brings.

Cobot case study: MINI Plant Oxford

Cobot - RITA on the MINI Plant Oxford production line, helping to assemble components for the car’s crumple zone pre-assembly - image courtesy of BMW Group MINI.
RITA on the MINI Plant Oxford production line, helping to assemble components for the car’s crumple zone pre-assembly – image courtesy of BMW Group MINI.

An advanced ‘RITA’ cobot was introduced at MINI Plant Oxford last year, a facility that manufactures 1,000 built-to-order cars each day.

RITA, which stands for ‘Riveting, Innovation Technology in Assembly’,  is working alongside a human operative; the RITA cobot rivets together three components for the car’s crumple zone pre-assembly.

With RITA installed, the facility is now able to streamline this process and has brought the cycle time down by 12 seconds.

This enables the factory to build an increased number of pre-assemblies more efficiently. It also gives the flexibility to utilise the time saved to make better use of the operator’s own time to perform other value-added tasks.