InTech

SEP-OCT 2017

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INTECH SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 7 A utomation and integrated indus- try continued to be a top topic at Hannover Fair 2017, repeated at events throughout the world with the goal of in creasing the productivity, competitive per- formance, and responsiveness of manufac- turing. Automation professionals should be at the focal point of these changes. Their un- derstanding of industrial manufacturing and production applications is fundamental for success. They need to be in the conversation, or the future of automation will be defined by the computer industry and information tech - nology (IT) organizations, resulting in signifi- cant missteps and unproductive investments. World competition Worldwide competition and the explosion of technology that InTech magazine has described over the past few years are driv - ing change. Manufacturers are realizing that leveraging low-cost labor is not a winning strategy and are investing in automation. For example, in 2016, China's national 10-year plan, "Made in China 2025," described how the country is aiming to become one of the top technological industrial nations within just a few years. China is now the largest purchaser of industrial robots in the world. Manufacturing focus Manufacturing is attracting venture capital and a new set of players, including tech- nology companies, IT organizations, com- puter consultants, software companies, and management consultants focusing on bringing change to industry. They have en thusiasm and new ideas, but lack the ac tivity knowledge, know-how, and skills of industrial automation professionals. Silver bullets Despite what many suppliers and consul- tants say, I do not believe there is a single "silver bullet" solution to achieve high- efficiency integrated industrial produc- tion and manufacturing. Rather, a sys- tem s approach is required—understanding operations and the technologies available, and applying them effectively, which is a major strength of automation professionals. New directions Simply refining automation systems and man- ufacturing methods may not ensure a compa- ny is competitive in the future. This is the time for automation professionals to explore po - tential competitive game changers enabled by new technologies and methods. Industry 4.0 generally references the last industrial revolu - tion as Henry Ford's assembly line. It reduced Model T production from more than 12 hours to 93 minutes, with Ford capturing a 48 per - cent share of the automobile market by 1914. It is instructional to remember how the U.S. automotive manufacturers lost share when adoption of new technologies and methods stagnated after the 1960s. By 1997, Japan produced 21 percent of auto- mobiles. Success of the Japanese automo- tive manufacturers was attributed to ad- vanced manufacturing methods, aggressive automation, and aggressive use of robotics. During that time, U.S. automakers had ac- cess to the same technologies and methods, but did not take advantage of them until compelled by competitive economic fac- tors. The competitive landscape is not static; adoption of new technology during times of significant innovation is critical for success. Automation voice? There is a case to be made with industrial au- tomation users and vendors to support and be active in ISA, or be controlled by outside technologists, including IT and associated organizations, associations, and companies. Collaboration and the collective voice of au - tomation professionals is the best way to im- pact and mold the future with solid industry background, knowledge, and know-how. Times of dramatic change can be danger - ous; the only leveling factor is informed peo- ple taking action and applying clear logic. n Integrated industry—Are you in the conversation? By Bill Lydon, InTech, Chief Editor Perspectives from the Editor | talk to me ISA INTECH STAFF CHIEF EDITOR Bill Lydon blydon@isa.org PUBLISHER Rick Zabel rzabel@isa.org PRODUCTION EDITOR Lynne Franke lfranke@isa.org ART DIRECTOR Colleen Casper ccasper@isa.org SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Pam King pking@isa.org GRAPHIC DESIGNER Lisa Starck lstarck@isa.org CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Charley Robinson crobinson@isa.org ISA PRESIDENT Steven W. Pflantz PUBLICATIONS VICE PRESIDENT James F. Tatera EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD CHAIRMAN Steve Valdez GE Sensing Joseph S. Alford Ph.D., P.E., CAP Eli Lilly (retired) Joao Miguel Bassa Independent Consultant Eoin Ó Riain Read-out, Ireland Vitor S. Finkel, CAP Finkel Engineers & Consultants Guilherme Rocha Lovisi Bayer Technology Services David W. Spitzer, P.E. Spitzer and Boyes, LLC Dean Ford, CAP Westin Engineering David Hobart Hobart Automation Engineering Allan Kern, P.E. Tesoro Corporation

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