"the UK's first dedicated journal focusing
on the fourth industrial revolution and
transforming to a smart manufacturing era"

Driving forward component traceability

Traceability is already commonplace in aerospace manufacturing at the very top of the supply chain but advances in relatively inexpensive technology with greater networking capabilities mean it can now be exploited by firms throughout, down to those producing even the smallest components. Alastair Morris, Sales Director at Pryor, looks at the marking, data management and networking solutions that are driving forward the development.

Robots automate 3D printing factory

By combining collaborative robots with 3D printers, a US company believes that it can produce plastic parts in batches of up to 100,000 at prices that compete with injection-moulding. Contributing editor Tony Sacks looks at the company’s plans.

Evolution and revolution in automation

The globalised markets are placing two key requirements on the manufacturing companies: greater speed in all entrepreneurial processes on the one hand, and a broader range of individual options for the end consumer on the other. Digitalisation offers the necessary key technologies to meet these requirements. Information and communication technologies are merging with classical industrial mechanics to yield cyber-physical systems. Festo has been adapting to this development by creating new organisation units stressing the significance of digitalisation. Smart Machines & Factories reports.

The rise of cobots

There’s no doubt the use of robotics will grow significantly in the industrial sphere in a wide variety of applications. There has been growing concern that robots are set to replace tasks humans are currently executing, but the latest technology is allowing automation of repetitive jobs, paving the way for increased efficiencies and providing opportunities for upscaling. Simon Duggleby, technical marketing manager at RS Components, reports.

Harnessing the true power of automation

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, operators up and down the hydrocarbon supply chain know that they need to fight for every penny of revenue. Industrial automation has emerged as a vital weapon in this fight, whether for refiners, producers, or pipeline owners. Where this industry is only now starting to see the benefits of automation, countless others have already gone much further along the path. What lessons can we learn from operators that have already faced up to the challenges that automation inevitably brings with it? Stratus Solutions Architect, Andy Bailey, reports.

Improving productivity with collaboration & automation

In an exclusive interview, Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director at obsolete industrial parts supplier, EU Automation talks to Jeremy Hadall, chief technologist of the Robotics and Automation division at the Manufacturing Technology Centre, an independent Research & Technology Organisation (RTO) with the objective of bridging the gap between academia and industry.

The road to digitalisation

The vision of Industry 4.0 presents a utopia where all parts of an operation are interlinked and coexist and where efficiencies, cost reductions and productivity increases can be achieved through integrated automation. That sounds good but what does that really mean and how do we start along the road to implementing the goals of Industry 4.0 and the smart factory? Smart Machines & Factories reports.

An Innovation Machine!

Siemens chief executive Juergen Maier is a busy man. But he recently demonstrated his personal commitment to supporting our young potential engineers by inviting in a group from Valley Gardens Middle School in North Tyneside, to interview him about his motivations to become an engineer, and his subsequent career path.

A clear vision

The new All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Fourth Industrial Revolution – known as APPG 4IR - was launched recently by Havant MP Alan Mak and his guest of honour, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond. Smart Machines & Factories attended the launch and reviews some of the main talking points from the event and examines the underlying issues.

Technology Readiness and ERP

With all the hype around the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Nick McGrane, managing director of K3 Syspro, takes us back to basics and takes us through some of the fundamental principles of evaluating where your business is currently at on the Technology Readiness scale.

New opportunities

Technological progress creates constant changes in the labour market; some jobs disappear, while quite different ones occur. The robot industry spurs many new job opportunities - even for jobseekers who have perhaps become redundant in other industries. A new Robot Academy in Denmark helps the robot industry find and retrain talent into a career with companies such as Universal Robots. Smart Machines & Factories reports.

Intelligent switchboards of the future

Wunderland Kalkar, a children's theme park in Dusseldorf, Germany attracts over 300,000 people every year. The park has over 40 rides, a hotel and a restaurant on site, so it may come as a surprise that the attraction was once an unused nuclear power plant. Over time places and technologies have to change in order to keep up with user demand, especially in industry. Nick Boughton, sales manager at industrial systems integrator, Boulting Technology discusses how switchboards need to adapt to keep up with increased energy demands.

An intuitive understanding

The work never stops at Laser Alsace Production (LAP) in Rosheim. Jacques Kammerer and his machines understand one another intuitively. The entrepreneur has taken the first steps towards building a digital production network, in partnership with TRUMPF. But forklift trucks still run around the factory. Smart Machines & Factories reports.

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Will Industry 4.0 revolutionise industrial production?
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