In the first of a two-part series highlighting our trip to the Hannover Messe, we talked about the effects on industry across the globe as we move into a crucial phase of the Fourth Industrial revolution.
And the phrase on everyone’s lips? Industry 4.0

What is Industry 4.0?
As part of the aforementioned fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0 will take the changes we now take for granted courtesy of the third industrial revolution, namely computers and automation, and improve our systems using data and machine learning.

The result? Our factories and workplaces will become more efficient, reduce waste, and become more productive as networked machines share data and information to identify improvements, thereby heading-off problems before they eventuate.

A great example is logistics and supply chains – a delay in a shipment of raw materials, for instance, could see a system automatically adjust manufacturing priorities based on this new information being exchanged by a fully-networked supply chain.

What does Industry 4.0 mean for steel fabricators here in Melbourne?
Mark Wood, our General Manager, represented Glyde Metal at Hannover Messe, and he saw it first-hand. “We were treated to a tour of the Siemens AG Headquarters and factory – again, absolutely huge. We saw just a fraction of the factory but witnessed the production efficiencies within Industry 4.0 operating and in use, and this impressed the delegation members who were looking at how to adopt the current industrial trends.”

It begs the question – could any of this be employed in Victorian manufacturing now? Mark certainly thinks so. “The Siemens software was able to preview how your factory looks in 3D before you upgrade or add new equipment, this was very interesting, basically you can simulate a factory layout before adding the equipment to trouble-shoot unforeseen problems”.

An Industry 4.0 innovation such as this could have been utilised in a real-life scenario at Glyde earlier this year, as Mark explains. “With the installation of our new Prima 10kW Laser Cutter, and subsequent sheet-feeder addition, previewing the layout of the factory would have helped us determine the best positioning far quicker than it did. It would have been a huge time-saver.”

What about other Industry 4.0 applications?

“The delegation participated in a presentation at the Messe on Security for Production Data”, Mark recounts. “This will be of help to us going forward as our CAD applications and management software integrate with our Laser Cutters, linking them together more closely. This will definitely help us with the larger jobs we’re taking on with our Tier 1 customers”.

It’s not only Industry that benefits from improved technology
Germany is considered the benchmark globally, not only in the use of technology, but also their use of land, transportation and energy, as Mark observed. “Taking the ICE (Intercity Express) train at 200km/h from Berlin to Hannover, the land alongside the tracks was farmed intensively, yet amongst the crops were small hectares of solar panels and wind generators dotting the same landscape – an amazing mixed land use.”

Industry 4.0 is already here
It’s clear we’ve entered the fourth Industrial Revolution and are moving head-long into Industry 4.0. The upside is enormous, and it’s clear that the companies who adopt new technologies will improve their businesses and offerings for their customers.

And the Hannover Messe?
Mark’s pretty succinct about it – “The Messe is a long plane trip but well worth it and highly recommended for manufacturers who want to innovate, develop capability and grow!”

Our thanks again to :
Siemens Australia
Global Victoria
German-Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry