Free factcard to help manufacturers prepare for the 4th industrial revolution

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EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and Oracle have today published a free new factcard to help manufacturers adjust and capitalise on opportunities from the 4th industrial revolution (4IR).

4IR is being driven by connectivity, big data and other rapid advances in product and process technology. Eight in ten manufacturers (80%) say that this next industrial transformation – which is global - will be a business reality within the next ten years. This makes it vital that manufacturers are up-to-speed.

The factcard is designed to encourage manufacturers to think about how they can successfully incorporate new technology into their business strategy to drive growth and productivity. It demystifies how 4IR technologies can improve efficiency and be used in products, the manufacturing process and across supply chains.

The factcard is part of a wider drive by EEF and Oracle to ensure that firms have support and information along with practical tips and case studies of how other manufacturers are adapting to the new industrial age.

But while UK manufacturers are gearing up for the 4th industrial revolution (4IR) they are aware of the need to invest. According to new research, over eight in ten (83%) say that they will need to invest in staff skills in order to adopt new advances in technology. At the same time, over six in ten (65%) recognise that they will need to invest in management skills as they set about boosting their company’s knowledge and understanding at a strategic level.

Firms are already investing in multi-purpose production lines (38%), capital equipment with embedded sensors and controls (33%) and cloud solutions (29%). And within the next 5 years almost two in ten manufacturers will have invested in the 3D simulation of manufacturing processes (18%), augmented reality (17%) and fully autonomous robots (16%).

The findings also suggest that new technologies will start to change the way factories look in a relatively short space of time. Within the next five years, almost three in ten manufacturers will be using rapid additive manufacturing techniques (3D printing) while those using cloud solutions will have leapt to 46%. Almost four in ten (38%) will have invested in capital equipment with embedded data analysis - big data will have started to become business as usual in factories across the UK.

No matter where manufacturers are on the 4IR journey, they can learn more by downloading the free factcard or by visiting: www.eef.org.uk/fourthindustrial.

Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at EEF, says: “4IR will be crucial for UK manufacturing. Manufacturers are aware that it will be a game changer – not just for investment in technologies, but for the cutting-edge, high-level skills required alongside.

“The speed of this new industrial revolution is such that UK manufacturers will need help and support to adjust and capitalise on its opportunities. Knowledge and understanding will be key, which is why we are collaborating with Oracle and have created this free factcard to help get our sector up-to-speed and to encourage companies to share ideas and best practice.”  

Mark Newton, VP of Applications at Oracle UK, says: “British manufacturing has consistently demonstrated its versatility and ability to adapt. But with this next industrial revolution driven by rapid advances in technology, the pace of change is about to become even faster and the range of opportunities even wider.  

“It’s critical that the sector understands the seismic shift ahead and that manufacturers have the right knowledge and tools to capitalise fully. Success in this global race will secure Britain’s position as a world-leading manufacturing and technology hub. There is everything to play for, which is why we are delighted to be working with EEF on supporting manufacturers on the 4IR journey.”

To find out more about UK manufacturing and 4IR, visit: www.eef.org.uk/fourthindustrial.

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