Helping to demystify industrial
digitalisation in UK manufacturing

Data Security - the battle of GAIA

16 July, 2020

Smart Machines & Factories investigates a new European initiative aimed at challenging the dominance of a few large American and Chinese data handline companies.

Smart simulation: video gaming turns digital twin to accelerate uptake of collaborative robots

13 July, 2020

Andy Pye, consultant editor for Smart Machines & Factories, speaks to Vikaso director Vaibhav Boricha, who plans to come out of lockdown all guns blazing to accelerate the update of collaborative robots.

Talking Industry arrives

10 July, 2020

Like manufacturers across the UK, publishers are also having to adapt to a COVID-19 world. This has presented challenges but also great opportunities to engage closer with our readers and understand your needs better. As part of this Smart Machines and Factories and its sister magazines Drives & Controls and Plant & Works Engineering, have launched Talking Industry, a new series of live digitally broadcast panel discussions with leading experts from the industrial, automation and manufacturing sectors.

COVID-19: The importance of digitalisation

01 April, 2020

In these surreal times that we are all living through and equally adapting to, it is hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel. But as editor of a magazine dedicated to the digitalisation of UK manufacturing, there are uplifting stories which give me a  significant amount of hope that when this period begins to abate that the UK will enter a period of reflection about the importance of manufacturing to not only our economic prosperity but also the significance it plays to the social fabric of our nation.

An increased appetite for smart factories

31 March, 2020

A new study from the Capgemini Research Institute has found that smart factories could add at least $1.5 trillion to the global economy through productivity gains, improvements in quality and market share, along with customer services. Smart Machines & Factories reports.

Digitalisation - the foundations for a vibrant future

07 January, 2020

The result of the recent election will undoubtedly reverberate for some time to come. What should have been a seasonally calm period period, leads many of us to contemplate how the number one concern for manufacturers - Brexit - will now finally play out.

We need more robots, not fewer

05 December, 2019

In an important – but, perhaps, under-publicised – new report, a committee of MPs has addressed the future of automation in the UK, and its vital importance to the economy. Contributing editor Tony Sacks has been looking through the report.

Demystifying digitalisation

18 October, 2019

According to Made Smarter, by 2030 the UK will be the global leader in the creation, adoption and export of advanced digital technologies, shaping how the modern world does business. These new technologies will enable faster, more responsive and more efficient processes to deliver improved productivity and higher quality products at a reduced cost.

Translator in a box

09 August, 2019

At the recent B&R Innovations Day: Enabling the Adaptive Machine, held at the Williams F1 headquarters in Oxford, Sam Tinsley, managing director of Cutting Edge Services - supplier of food processing machinery, services and consumables - highlighted how the company is working with B&R to add incremental automation solutions in an under-invested and low-tech industry such as butchery, in order to raise productivity and address labour shortages for the industry. Smart Machines & Factories’ Aaron Blutstein reports.

Bring engineering into primary schools

30 July, 2019

I was recently lucky enough to attend the launch of two new engineering Institutions for children at the House of Lords, which will help nurture and encourage the abundance of talent we need as an engineering nation.

Another apprentice graduates

17 July, 2019

Fairfields has announced that another apprentice has completed its apprenticeship programme. Billy Hanner has now moved into a permanent and full time design engineer position within the Projects Team at the Head Office.

Cyber-attacks on smart factories are on the rise

23 May, 2019

A series of major cyber-attacks on manufacturing enterprises has highlighted the extreme and growing risks that such attacks pose. Contributing editor Tony Sacks has been reading a new report that looks at how the interconnected nature of smart factories makes them particularly vulnerable – especially because many manufacturers still rely on outdated versions of Windows, which are no longer receiving security updates.

Busting digital myths

17 May, 2019

Running under the lead theme of "Industrial Intelligence", this year's Hannover Messe shone a spotlight on digital connectivity, particularly as it applies to connecting people and machines in an age of artificial intelligence.

Industry 4.0: The future is AI

07 May, 2019

Festo Member of the Management Board Dr Frank Melzer has taken over as head of the Industry 4.0 platform steering committee for the digitisation of business in Germany. Smart Machines & Factories’ Aaron Blutstein caught up with him in Holland to find out which direction Industry 4.0 is heading.

Floating a vision of levitating production systems

30 April, 2019

In tomorrow’s factories, workpieces will be transported flexibly between workstations on magnetically levitated carriers. This vision of the future was demonstrated at a recent German exhibition by two rival automation companies who believe that their technologies will help manufacturers to achieve “batch size one”. Contributing editor Tony Sacks reports.

Embrace digitalisation

14 March, 2019

The recent National Manufacturing Conference, organised by MAKE UK (the new name for the EEF, which was announced during the event) highlighted that the UK and the industrial sector face an unparalleled set of challenges and opportunities in the years ahead: Brexit, digitalisation, automation, artificial intelligence and the emergence of new markets. How well we deal with them will ultimately reflect our future success as a manufacturing nation.

Predictions for manufacturing: Industrial trends for 2019

06 March, 2019

Industry 4.0, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) - regardless of the phrase used to describe digitalisation in manufacturing, there’s no denying that a shift has already taken place. But, is the age of industrial buzzwords coming to a grinding halt? Smart Machines & Factories spoke to Stefan Reuther, chief sales officer at COPA-DATA, who gives his three predictions for industrial automation in 2019.

Focus on the driving forces behind intelligent industry

04 January, 2019

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are continuing to grow in importance within Industry 4.0. With Industrial Intelligence as its lead theme, the 2019 Hannover Messe is putting this development centre stage. Smart Machines & Factories reports.

A welcome relief?

06 December, 2018

For manufacturers the publishing of the Government’s withdrawal agreement should in theory, come as some kind of welcome relief – but is it?

Are two arms better than one?

30 November, 2018

Giving a robot a second arm offers many potential attractions in terms of flexibility, load-carrying and performing complex operations. But practical applications of dual-arm robots have so far have been limited. Contributing editor Tony Sacks reports on some of the latest developments.

Grasping 4IR opportunities

30 October, 2018

The recent Smart Machines & Factories 4IR survey, supported by GAMBICA and EEF, and sponsored by Festo GB, highlights that some manufacturers are already grasping 4IR opportunities, but others are still to take their first steps on their journey.

4IR scepticism?

27 September, 2018

New digital technologies are rapidly transforming European manufacturing, and investment in 4IR technologies is vital to achieving a step change in UK manufacturing productivity given performance has flat-lined in the decade since the financial crisis.

Flexible movers could revamp production lines

03 July, 2018

There are now several competing technologies that promise to add flexibility to production lines by allowing items to be moved and processed individually, thus achieving the Holy Grail of “batch size one”. Contributing editor Tony Sacks reports on who is offering what.

Smart opportunities on show

20 June, 2018

The inaugural Smart Industry Expo took place alongside the established Drives & Controls Exhibition and co-located events, at Birmingham’s NEC last month. Smart Machines & Factories reviews a few of the highlights during the three-day event.

Time to get our productivity act together

31 May, 2018

Industry 4.0 and The Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), presents huge opportunities for British manufacturing over the next decade, and the recent biennial co-location of events at the NEC in April, which included the inaugural Smart Industry Expo, left visitors in no doubt that the 'smartening' process of industry and manufacturing is going to change the face of global industry forever.


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