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Manufacturing is a rapidly evolving sector and we are about to welcome in a new age. Industry 4.0 is set to be just as significant as any of the previous industrial revolutions.

With industry 4.0 gathering momentum at an impressive rate, manufacturing executives need to begin evaluating, embracing and evolving their industry 4.0 plan to make the most of the new opportunities.

Industry 4.0 is split into 4 main segments; big data, advanced data analytics, human-machine interfacing and digital to physical transfer. Industry 4.0 is not about making enormous changes to everything within manufacturing, it is about integrating all of these segments into one “smart” system to optimise production and become more efficient.

Big data

Manufacturing has had “big data” long before the tag line was coined, with every machine calculating, optimizing and processing enormous amounts of data for every process, the next stage of this is how to process this data to make it useful.

Advanced data analytics

Analysing all of the data that has been captured and turning it into something that is easy to interpret and useful is the biggest efficiency gain possible for many manufacturing plants.

Human to machine interfacing

With the rapid increases in touch screen technology and even virtual reality the way we interact with the technology around us is evolving faster than ever.

Digital to physical transfer

The biggest change in this sector is 3D printing, with price points of some 3D printers coming in at just a few hundred pounds you can see how the digital to physical transfers are gaining momentum.

Here at Interconics we are evolving to make sure we continue to hold a strong position in the marketplace. At present we have data captured from all of our networked shop floor machinery, this is all fed into one data point to be analysed for production efficiency and job costing accuracy.

Yamaha Automated Optical Inspection systemsWe use touch screen technology on nearly all of our machinery so that our technicians can use the machines with ease, this has increased their productivity.

We use touch screen technology on nearly all of our machinery so that our technicians can use the machines with ease, this has increased their productivity. We currently utilise the excellent Yamaha Yfact software to input digital designs in various formats including the superb ODB++ format, which is machine ready from the start. This software gives us data programming, line handling, setup verification and traceability. When we combine this software with our vast array of Yamaha equipment, we can make great progress towards being a smart factory. For more information on Industry 4.0 and Yamaha please look at this article.

We still have a long way to go to have a perfectly automated smart factory, but we are making great progress in optimising our current equipment to work as efficiently as possible. Our current progress is already proving to be a great benefit to our customers. One of our next steps is to implement a new laser marking system into our production lines so that we can trace every PCB without having to place labels with bar codes on them.

This will save on precious PCB land space and speed up our production process without compromising quality.