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Industry 4.0 takes centre stage

German firms are sometimes said to be ahead of their British counterparts when it comes to adoption of the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 - Essentra

According to a survey by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 2016, there is a “gaping hole” in British manufacturers’ understanding of Industry 4.0. This advanced digitisation of manufacturing processes will see new digital design processes used in product development and smarter factories with improved, more efficient production facilities. UK manufacturers and their workforce will benefit if they can embrace Industry 4.0, but are they playing catch-up?

“UK manufacturers will benefit if they embrace Industry 4.0 but do they need to play catch up?”

Active Cockpit launches with award

This year’s Hannover Messe trade show – the world’s biggest industrial fair – will see demonstrations of much of the latest Industry 4.0 technology. Automation firm Bosch Rexroth has developed an interactive communication platform – ActiveCockpit – which has received an award for outstanding design quality. As part of the company’s Industry 4.0 portfolio, ActiveCockpit collates, filters and visualises data in real-time and displays it on a touchscreen or tablet. The Bosch Rexroth project received the German Design Award from the German Design Council.

Sean Kilgallen, marketing manager at Bosch Rexroth, says: “During the design process of ActiveCockpit, we were focused on the ‘employee experience’ in order to create a truly user-friendly platform. ActiveCockpit is set to play an important role in the future of manufacturing and Industry 4.0, but by no means does it end there. We will continue to challenge the market and develop innovative products which push the boundaries across a broad array of applications, driven by quality design.”

Digital transformation at Hannover

At the Hannover Messe 2017, automation giant Siemens says it will be demonstrating how industrial companies of all sizes can benefit from what it calls ‘digital transformation’. The central focus of Siemens’ booth in Hall 9 will be the company's extended portfolio for end-to-end digitalisation, known as the ‘Digital Enterprise’. “An array of examples from practice will allow visitors to experience applications and innovations demonstrating the competitive benefits to be gained by merging the real and the virtual worlds”, Siemens says. These include greater flexibility, efficiency and quality for engineering, and reduced time-to-market.

Siemens’ examples on show range from smart energy management systems, through customised food and pharmaceutical production, to industrial-scale additive manufacturing based on innovative automation and drive technology. Siemens is also driving forward the expansion of its cloud-based, open IoT operating system MindSphere with the addition of new partnerships, interfaces and apps.

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