In the UK, manufacturing is a thriving industry that directly employs 2.6 million people and sectors such as the aerospace industry generate annual revenue in excess of £30 billion, providing excellent careers for well over 100,000 people. Our position as a major world player is founded on a highly-skilled workforce, institutional knowledge and a history of technological advances. Retaining this strong global reputation is essential to economic wellbeing but also continued growth.
However, the world is changing fast. New advances in automation are transforming traditional processes, with industrial robots replacing people in more and more industries. We need to question whether a skilled workforce will be needed in the future. If robots will be making autonomous decisions driven by “big-data”, we can imagine a future with no requirement for human intervention in the manufacturing process, and therefore no need to maintain a strong skills base.
This logic is flawed, of course. It is only through a deep human understanding of manufacturing processes that a shift towards automation is possible at all. The companies and industries that invest in skills and training will be the ones that make the fastest advances in automation. Read more.
Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, has been discussed a great deal in 2018. At INSPHERE we feel that Industry 4.0 will indeed live up to the current hype, and that metrology data will be the key enabler that delivers truly smart manufacturing and drives productivity to a higher level.
Can revolutions can be mapped out in advance? Do they truly drive changes or are they just the result of incremental development? These questions are still relevant today – they may help us to take an objective look at whether i4.0 is just marketing jargon or a genuinely transformative event. To help answer these questions in the context of the present day, INSPHERE will be releasing a series of articles over the coming months, looking both backwards through history and forwards into the short and medium-term future. Read more.
Made Smarter, an independent review commissioned by the government and released last year, identified the positioning of the UK with respect to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Since its release, over the last 12 months it has been impossible to discuss the future of manufacturing without hearing terms like Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning or Big Data. The terminology, branding and messaging has come to the fore of the manufacturing conversation. However, the over-arching sentiment that seems to have been established is clear: collect data and use it to improve your manufacturing system. Read more.
A popular board game in the 1980s famously took, "a minute to learn... a lifetime to master". Portable arms are a deceptively simple metrology system for which the same catchphrase applies. Arms are designed to be highly flexible and easy to use for a wide variety of measurement tasks. However, understanding measurement datasets and how to use them for verification, reverse engineering or any other application can be far more involved than it first appears.
Here are five steps to help provide a sound basis for adopting more robust and effective methods when using portable arms. Read more…