We are constantly regaled with how our future will be changed by advances in technology: 5G super-fast communications, autonomous vehicles, AI, and digital life at bewildering speeds. Rarely do we stop to ask what will power this technological acceleration.
Industry commentators believe that, over time, every machine on every factory floor will have its own digital twin. Some have even been so brazen as to suggest that at least half of large industrial companies will adopt this self-learning technology by 2021.
Nine companies based in the North West are the first in the country to benefit from a government programme designed to boost the country's productivity and growth through the adoption of digital technology.
Growing regulatory change and uncertainty is impacting the vast majority of UK process manufacturers, but they are responding by investing in new technologies and leveraging the cache surrounding 'Brand Britain'.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that the process of adopting digital manufacturing technologies – a must-have for improved productivity and output – needs top floor to shop floor buy-in, and delivering that requires deep culture change.
In coming months, we will be bringing you extracts from The Manufacturer's Annual Manufacturing Report 2019. This month, we focus on the Smart Factories section (sponsored by PwC) which tested attitudes and barriers to the adoption of digital manufacturing technologies.
Despite debating the merits of paperless for the past two decades, very few manufacturing firms have actually adopted an entirely paperless operation. Mark Hughes says it is time to stop talking about it – and start adopting.