Helping to demystify industrial
digitalisation in UK manufacturing

Bringing the edge and cloud together

25 August, 2020

Data is at the heart of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Smart Manufacturing. By setting up suitable platforms to collect and analyse data, it is possible to gain in-depth, unique insights into manufacturing processes that can lead to their optimisation. The most effective setup combines edge and cloud-based platforms to get the best of both worlds. Chris Evans* looks at why the future of network infrastructure balances edge and cloud capabilities.

How to address the “new normal” of factory automation in food manufacturing

06 August, 2020

Food and beverage companies can now set the course for the time after the Covid-19 pandemic using automation to boost competitiveness and productivity. Manufacturers should focus their resources on four market driven perspectives: workforce, product quality, flexibility and sustainability. Smart Machines & Factories reports.

Inaugural Talking Industry digital broadcast tackles key manufacturing issues

29 July, 2020

Talking Industry, a series of digitally broadcast panel discussions, featuring leading experts from the automation and manufacturing industries, has been launched by DFA Media - the publisher of Plant & Works Engineering, Smart Machines and Factories, Drives & Controls and Hydraulics & Pneumatics magazines, took place on July 14th. Smart Machines & Factories takes a look at one of the key discussions during the inaugural event.

Warehouse optimisation – a timely approach to automation

20 July, 2020

Steve Richmond, director logistics systems at Jungheinrich explains that the key to successful automation is typically a staggered approach, instead of completely overhauling your current setup, it should be about deploying the right technology and processes in collaboration with the right people, at the right time.

COVID-19 – how business is adapting in the face of adversity

15 July, 2020

Alistair Binks* explains to Smart Machines & Factories how the COVID-19 pandemic has driven businesses to focus inwards, looking with a critical eye at their more “fragile” business areas, or those markets which they may have relied upon too heavily so far.

Adding value in the digital dimension: Sculpting with sensor data

13 July, 2020

Neil Sandhu, SICK UK product manager for Imaging, Measurement and Ranging, takes a look at why in a digitised world no sensor is an island, and that it must connect and interact with other devices and feed its data into software and digital services.

Digitisation pushes the boundaries of additive manufacturing

10 July, 2020

3D printing (additive manufacturing, or AM) has hit the headlines with its role in producing emergency ventilator parts and supplies of PPE. But is it a serious competitor to established mass manufacturing methods? Andy Pye looks at how the boundaries are being extended.

Manufacturing resilience during the coronavirus pandemic

05 June, 2020

How do you keep a factory running during the COVID-19 crisis? The main problem isn’t social distancing necessarily, but keeping workers motivated during the slowdown. That’s according to new research by money.co.uk, which spoke to 25 business leaders from the manufacturing industry to gain insights into how coronavirus has affected them.

How coronavirus is driving digital transformation and continuity planning

04 June, 2020


The current pandemic is forcing the manufacturing sector to re-evaluate traditional production processes. The combination of supply chain disruption, shortage of materials, dependence on globalised production, and a national workforce with restricted movements, is not only affecting the industry, but the wider economy. While many have struggled to adapt within the current environment, there are those taking this opportunity to transform.

Why are some engineers still wary of digitalisation?

28 April, 2020

The benefits of digitalising the manufacturing process are plentiful and obvious for many engineers who are open to new ways of working. Andreas Velling, mechanical engineer and head of marketing at Fractory reports.

Why are some engineers still wary of digitalisation?

28 April, 2020

The benefits of digitalising the manufacturing process are plentiful and obvious for many engineers who are open to new ways of working. Andreas Velling, mechanical engineer and head of marketing at Fractory reports.

UMATI– on its way to becoming the global language of production

30 April, 2020

The VDMA and VDW are joining forces to promote the use and dissemination of OPC UA standards throughout the mechanical engineering sector under the umati label.

How one forgotten password could grind your operations to a stop

30 April, 2020

Human-Machine-Interfaces (HMIs) are dashboards that act as an interface between a user and a machine or device. They are designed to present information in a graphical format about the status of a process to an operator. HMIs can be password protected to only give authorisation and access to operators with the correct security clearance. However, a growing and recurring problem has been the loss or misplacement of these critical passwords, causing a host of delays. Martin Brown, product manager Siemens, reports.

New IIoT data platform for UK market

22 April, 2020

With a view to helping UK manufacturers improve the efficiency and output of their production operations, FANUC has unveiled its new Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform, FIELD (FANUC Intelligent Edge Link and Drive) system.

Scale-up capacity with smart tool changing

22 April, 2020

RARUK Automation has introduced the SMARTSHIFT tool changer. Designed to operate with all models in its Universal Robots (UR) range of collaborative robots, the company says the system cuts production time and errors and allows companies to scale-up capacity with ease.

MTC helps castings company with new facility

22 April, 2020

One of the UK's leading die-casting companies is increasing its manufacturing space by 60% and will open a new foundry with the help of experts from the Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre.

Remote connectivity accelerated for critical customer operations

22 April, 2020

ABB has highlighted that it is accelerating remote connectivity for customer operations during COVID-19 crisis, with the company expediting rollout of and access to remote service tools and digital solutions across critical industry.

Making IIoT and Smart Technology happen

22 April, 2020

Applying new technology to a physical process or manufacturing system is an essential part of progress, however the practical side of implementing the latest Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Smart Technology solutions is bringing its own unique challenges. That in turn is leading to new automation solutions. Chris Evans – Marketing and Operations group manager of Mitsubishi Electric UK looks at the latest challenges and solutions.

Autonomous technology: Mitigating the business impact of the Covid-19

03 April, 2020

Covid-19 has exposed the soft underbelly of critical infrastructure and industrial sites worldwide – workforce availability. As more and more companies implement business continuity plans to deal with the outbreak, fewer and fewer employees are able to fully function. Ariel Avitan, co-founder & chief commercial officer at Percepto reports.

Additive manufacturing for production

24 March, 2020

As additive manufacturing (AM) / 3D printing continues to evolve, many of the pre-conceptions concerning its usefulness as a production technology for plastic parts and components need to be revisited. Nick Allen, MD, 3DPRINT UK, reports.

A Glimpse through the doors of a Smart Factory

22 January, 2020

SICK offers a fascinating glimpse through the doors of its own Industry 4.0 factory – and proves it pays to practice what you preach. Smart Machines & Factories reports.

Serving up finance

15 January, 2020

OEMs can help their customers in the Machine Building sector embrace digitalisation with integrated finance. Neli Ivanova, sales manager, Industrial Equipment at Siemens Financial Services in the UK, reports.

The peanut butter and jelly of industry

02 January, 2020

Jonathan Wilkins, director at automation equipment supplier EU Automation, explains the relationship between legacy equipment and emerging technology.

What does ‘Industry 4.0’ really mean for manufacturers?

10 December, 2019

Smart Machines & Factories spoke to Lucian Dold, general channel & product marketing manager at Omron Europe, about what Industry 4.0 really means for manufacturers.

Digital twins revolutionise time to market

22 October, 2019

All across the world's markets and industries, products are moving from conceptual design to market release in a shorter and shorter amount of time. How long it takes to develop a machine's hardware and program its software can be a decisive factor in its success or failure against the competition. So, naturally the faster, the better. Digital twins can play an important role in rapid development and testing of a machine's hardware and software. Smart Machines & Factories caught up with Kurt Zehetleitner, head of development - Simulation and Digital Twin, B&R.

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