Published on the 28/10/2021 | Written by Heather Wright
Demonstration Network maps big future for Industry 4.0…
Data is king for Industry 4.0 but it’s an area where local manufacturers are often struggling, according to advanced manufacturing senior consultant Frank Phillips.
“One of the big themes we’re seeing is around how people are using data to find out what is actually happening in their business and make the right decisions quicker,” he says.
Phillips works at LMAC, which is partnering with Callaghan Innovation and the EMA to provide Industry 4.0 network site visits and assessments to Kiwi manufacturers.
“It’s not about futuristic stuff necessarily.”
The site visits are part of Callaghan’s $6 million government-funded Industry 4.0 Demonstration Network, which also includes a mobile showcase, webinars and, in the future, smart factory tours.
The Industry 4.0 Demonstration Network is a push encourage Kiwi manufacturers to embrace new technology and innovate to remain globally competitive, using a fusion of technologies, from robotics and automation to data analytics, mixed reality and artificial intelligence.
LMAC has done Industry 4.0 Smart Industry Readiness Index (Siri) assessments with around 25 organisations, ranging from 10 employees to 8,000, and says harnessing shop floor data – from tracking jobs and how long they take to the quality and productivity of each machine used – is a key challenge for many manufacturers.
“In terms of getting hold of that data, New Zealand businesses are not that good. They get some of it, the bare bones required, information about who turned up that day and for how long, because you have to for time sheets,” Phillips says.
But as a natural course they don’t tend to take it further than that.”
That’s largely because of the challenges around getting the data. For many it is a very manual process. Analysis of enterprise data – essentially ERP, MES and machine telematics – remains a challenge, and combining it with facility data around utility usage such as water, gas and electricity and how smart your building is set up, are low on the list of priorities for local manufacturers, he says.
Phillips says a critical data assessment is a key part of building a high-level Industry 4.0 roadmap and something he encourages manufacturers to do.
“What data do you actually need in your business, what decision are you trying to make, what insights help make that decision and have you got the right data at the right time?
“That’s something we are seeing from a lot of manufacturers.”
Mapping a businesses top priorities and the shop floor KPIs they’re trying to improve most over the coming years is a critical component, Phillips say, and one where ‘nine times out of ten’ they’re not measuring what’s needed from the shop floor.
“How can you expect improvement at a management level if you’re not measuring key metrics in the business? That’s where I see the biggest gap.”
Ming-chun Wu, Callaghan Innovation programme manager for the Industry 4.0 Demonstration Network, says a recent survey of manufacturers shows interest in the use of big data is high among manufacturers, along with robotics and automation.
Wu says the network was established to enable manufacturers in particular to see Industry 4.0 in action.
“Often these concepts are deemed too mysterious, while others might have heard about them but aren’t sure where to start in terms of implementation or planning for the use of some of these available technologies,” she says.
“It’s not about futuristic stuff necessarily, but things that have already been adopted by quite a number of businesses across New Zealand that we are trying to share and show others how that could help them.”
The site visits include webinars and physical visits to manufacturers who have already embarked on the Industry 4.0 journey. For the manufacturer’s involved the process also includes a fully funded ‘SIRI’ benchmarking assessment to help accelerate their own Industry 4.0 journey.
LMAC is an accredited provider of Germany’s Tuv Sud’s Smart Industry Readiness Index (SIRI) assessment, which aims to provide a common framework to help companies determine where to start and how to scale and sustain Industry 4.0 efforts.
Kayne Franich, general manager member engagement for the Employers & Manufacturers Association, which has been a key player in the site visits and assessments, says interest among its manufacturing community in the Demo Network is high across all areas, from those who have not heard much about Industry 4.0 to those who are well on the journey.
“We have seen close to 700 businesses engaged in the Industry 4.0 Demonstration Network since inception, which is great,” Franich says.
Manufacturers interested in joining can find out more and complete an initial self-assessment here.