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Industry 4.0 – unlocking UK’s niche as a world player

As we look forward we can see big changes coming. Changes that will impact the way we trade with our European counterparts, and changes to the leadership of still the largest economy on earth. As much as the international political infrastructure is shifting, so the technological landscape and the interaction of technology and

industry is fundamentally altering how products are made and produced. By Eliza Rawlings, managing director, Festo


ndustry 4.0, a concept that began in Germany, but is now taking hold

internationally, sees the increasing dominance and reliance on technology to produce far reaching efficiencies, across a wide variety of sectors, including advances in sensors and computing, bio technology, simulation, nano technology, cloud computing, smart technology, alternative energies and robotics. In some of these sectors, the UK has a head start on other countries. We’ll need this to protect our trade with Europe in the post-EU landscape. If we produce the technology that other countries want and need to grow their own market, why wouldn’t they trade with us? While the technology is, and will become,

increasingly available, the sticking point is the adoption of this technology, because adoption relies on people. To have widespread acceptance of Industry 4.0 principles and new automation equipment requires the foresight and risk-taking of leaders. They need to be able to have the vision of a different type of manufacturing and industrial future. They need the courage to invest in new technology. Perhaps most importantly, they need to convince their people of the benefits of being part of a changing organisation. That certainly requires courage and strong leadership. Engaging people is what enables change to happen. We need to be thinking about our people now, at the same time as building the business plan and mapping out the changes. Organisations need to have their people on board. They need them to support the vision of the company, to be open to and involved with the changes that are doubtless coming. As both a training organisation, and a

company with its roots in manufacturing and engineering, we have seen how the failure to plan change effectively and engage with

people prevents future-facing projects from being successfully completed. We have heard tales of how automation has failed to deliver expected benefits to an organisation because people have been fearful of their own jobs and careers and they haven’t been reassured or engaged in the automation process. Of course, with changing technology comes a changing employment landscape. This cannot be ignored. Some job roles will change. There will be a need for new skills. We have hit a 10- year low on unemployment figures. There are still critical shortages of skilled labour in the UK. Research conducted by Festo showed that during the previous three years skills shortages within UK manufacturing and engineering have increased. This is another risk to organisations, and one that needs to be considered. What skills will be required in the future? What can organisations do to train their people and invest in skills development, so they’re not caught short-handed at that critical juncture when skills are needed? It is the responsibility of every leader and every organisation to identify, promote and help develop future skills. With the new Apprenticeship Levy and the government’s promises to have delivered three million apprenticeships by 2020, we have the opportunity to train young people today for the skills that will be required tomorrow. With Industry 4.0 we have the opportunity to shift and change the attitude of people to the new technological industrial landscape. We can convince and engage people in the exciting opportunities presented by Industry 4.0. We can fully get behind realising the vision and possibilities of Industry 4.0. That’s the future we would like to see.




How millions of low voltage motors can now be monitored

By Dave Hawley, ABB’s general manager for motors & generators

C has been ava

ondition monitoring equipment for all types of electric motors –

whether high, medium or low voltage

– has been available for many years. However, for low voltage (LV) motors the cost of such equipment has prohibited the widespread use of condition monitoring, restricting it primarily to critical applications, typically found in oil and gas industries. This is because significant infrastructure is required, which typically costs more than the motors themselves. Specialist personnel are needed to install and maintain the monitoring equipment. And without the correctly installed infrastructure, the maintenance team does not have sufficient data to optimise the installed base. Furthermore, maintenance is fragmented and

unconnected, with a separate team for each site, or at most one team covering a few sites. As such a ‘run to failure’ approach is often adopted.

Yet with some 300 million low voltage motors

installed around the world, the benefits of being able to predict the motor failure or the energy consumed are immense. If competent data analysis with a large volume of information were readily available then service engineers could provide advanced plant optimisation at affordable costs and plant operators could save operating costs and increase productivity. Plant owners can boost their results with better monitoring and maintenance for their LV motors. The evolution of smart sensing technology is about

to have a major impact on the LV motor market. A device that cost-efficiently monitors the condition of LV motors to increase their performance, efficiency, reliability and lifespan is now available in the UK. The ABB Ability Smart Sensor for motors is a pocket-sized device that is retrofitted to the frame of LV induction motors without the need for additional wiring. The device picks up data on vibration, temperature and other parameters and relays information about the motor’s health, via a smartphone and over the internet, to a secure, cloud- based server. This enables users to plan their maintenance according to actual needs rather than on the basis of time intervals or operating hours. This will reduce maintenance costs and enable the plant to cut or even eliminate unplanned stops. By converting regular LV motors into intelligent, connected machines, the solution enables advanced maintenance planning that will help businesses to cut costs and boost productivity. Predictive analytics based on data from the solution can reduce downtime by up to 70 percent, extend motor lifetime by as much as 30 percent and cut energy consumption by up to 10 percent. For the first time, real decision making data is available in the hands of plant operators to create tangible improvements in asset management, productivity and operational efficiency.

Find out more at generators/service/advanced-services/smart-sensor


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