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UK manufacturers are ‘unprepared’ for Industry 4.0

30 March, 2017

The UK is “badly underprepared” for Industry 4.0, says a new report from the industrial services company, Eriks. The report, based on a survey of 200 UK engineers, reveals that 61% are not undertaking any Industry 4.0 initiatives, despite the vast majority (80%) believing it will have a positive effect on their production and maintenance practices.

The freely-downloadable report highlights several major barriers to the implementation of Industry 4.0, including security concerns, a lack of understanding of its potential benefits (particularly among senior managers), and an unwillingness to share data with third-party maintenance suppliers or OEMs, who could provide maintenance services such as remote condition monitoring.

The results suggest that 79% of organisations would offer limited or no disclosure of their data, despite 56% admitting that they need support from OEMs or third parties to use their data for machine diagnosis.

“These results suggest that UK industry is badly underprepared,” suggests Gary Price, Eriks’ international product manager for automation and services. “Seemingly industry is fully aware that it has a data collection and analysis deficit, but is unwilling or unable to engage with its industrial supply chain in order to get help.

“In effect, the experts – who could help design the sensing systems, collect and analyse data which could revolutionise industrial maintenance, and bring forward tactics such as predictive maintenance and condition monitoring ­– are being kept at arms-length.”

The report also highlights an age gap in UK manufacturing, with senior managers less likely than their younger counterparts to have a full understanding of the benefits of Industry 4.0, and a willingness to share their data.

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