There is talk that UK industry is at the start of a 4th industrial revolution (known as Industry 4.0), but what does this mean? And why are we only just over the start line?

Industry 4.0 is the transformation of industrial markets with smart manufacturing and the adoption of technology to maximise productivity and competitiveness. It will lead to greater efficiencies and change the relationship of traditional production methods amongst suppliers, producers, and customers—as well as between people and machines. This will impact a variety of sectors such as: manufacturing, logistics and supply chain, energy, transportation and more.

In a recent interview with the Engineering Employers Federation (EEF), the co-owners of PES Performance Mike Maddock and Dan Fleetcroft shared their opinions on the benefits and frustrations of what is known as the 4th industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0 or the Internet of Things (IOT).

Mike began by saying, “The issue with 4.0 is there’s a lot of businesses that just don’t understand it. I think the assumption is that 4.0 is just too expensive- and businesses just can’t afford it. But it’s about education and creating awareness.”

Dan continued this point further suggesting that, “It’s important to get the information out there, so key businesses can see real examples of where it has been used, and particularly where it has been used in more mainstream applications. That might give people more confidence.

“I think that often businesses assume that the technology is not ready, the materials they require are not there, or the costs will be too high. I think that’s probably half the problem because people just dismiss it and ignore what could be possible, or they will stick with more traditional methods that might not be the best approach.”

When asked about emerging technologies within the 4th industrial revolution, Dan and Mike both discussed how they felt it could open many new career opportunities for people. As Mike commented; “If you’re looking at 4.0 and the new types of jobs that are being created through technology, many people haven’t realised about yet.”

Dan concluded by saying, “In my mind this opens career options to young people who historically wouldn’t have thought of going anywhere near engineering or manufacturing jobs. But suddenly with driving apps and the opportunity to interface with these systems, designs and technology they are interested.”