“Data can save the future of manufacturing,” were the words of key-note speaker Norbert Hanke at a Hexagon event that provided an insight into the future of manufacturing and outlined new ways to achieve a competitive edge.
He added: “Data will power a successful digital ecosystem which is smart and fully connected.”
Hexagon presented its integrated solutions at the HxGN Local ‘Smart Manufacturing’ UK forum and supported the ‘smart factory’ ethos with an array of keynote speakers, who ‘brought the concept closer to modern manufacturers’ every-day experiences’.
The topics covered included automation, autonomous mobility, smart factories, future workforce skill-set requirements, and the impact of the current economic climate.
A live exhibition zone featured a range of Hexagon solutions for harnessing data to improve processes, from design and engineering through to production and metrology.
It showed how the digital and real manufacturing worlds merge in the production of tomorrow, and how ‘smart’ technologies mesh seamlessly with each other.
Mr Hanke — president of Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence Division (www.hexagonmi.com
) — told delegates that, with politics affecting industry more and more, there’s the need now for agility “like never before.
"Manufacturers need to build a smart resilient business model with more personalisation and better-quality products, and smart factories are at the heart of this, being data-driven, connected and intelligent.
"Data is at the core of the digital transformation, so we need to put four types of data to work. These are: descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive.
"This will improve efficiency and quality, while reducing costs, leading to sustainability. Connected data offers a new level of insight, leading to new solutions.”
Meanwhile, Ben Morgan from the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre showed delegates how factories of the future would use reconfigurable manufacturing and AI.
He highlighted statistics from 2017 showing that the UK was behind other advanced nations in overall production, due in part to lower levels of digital and automation technology.
Describing a ‘reconfigurable factory’ as undertaking the bespoke manufacture of products, he said this was achieved through being highly automated and digitally connected, using new technology with metrology at its core, and having an adaptable workforce.