This article was originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.
I’ve taken the plunge. I’ve installed solar panels and bought an electric car. Now I can smugly drive around, safe in the knowledge that my house and car are powered by the sun. No more horrible emissions which are bad for our health and our planet.
Changes are happening rapidly. The EU, along with many other countries, states and cities around the world, is limiting emissions. The biggest investment programme ever known to mankind is under way; it’s a real revolution. Battery components and electric motors are the most obvious changes in vehicles. Yet, there is much more going on. Power infrastructures are changing, with new transmission cables being built to cope with the need to move power from sea and land-based wind turbines as well as solar parks. Charging points are being installed all around us.
For the manufacturing industry, this is one of the vital parts of Industry 4.0 and it’s being picked up in a spectacular way. Yet, in some ways, many elements of manufacturing do not change. Supply chains move away from internal combustion engine manufacturing and battery makers have to deal with the surge in demand for raw materials. The type of changes we would expect. However, the manufacturing process still relies on just in time deliveries, lean and six sigma methodology and a well-trained workforce.
I attended a manufacturing software event in Amsterdam recently and we talked about how software for manufacturing will change. Although we are now moving quickly into battery manufacturing and electric car assembly, our software copes remarkably well with the change. ATS Bus acts as a perfect communication backbone, regardless of the type of product being manufactured. What does change is what is being measured and how it is measured. The data has to be analysed and interpreted in a different way – but hey, it’s still data.
The car still needs to look terrific; the paint finish must be perfect. Whether it’s an electric or dirty car, the look and feel must meet today’s high demands. ATS Inspect and ATS CM4D assure perfect visual quality and perfect dimensional quality so both are used in some of the newest car plants worldwide. The same goes for battery plants where a myriad of data is collected. It’s great that green technologies can make use of existing solutions – it moves the whole process along much faster.
Time to board the green Industry 4.0 revolution train? Do it, don’t wait!
Mike James is chair of the board of directors at ATS Global and a leading global expert in Industry 4.0
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