Plugging the ‘Gaping Hole’ in Industry 4.0 Knowledge

Posted 18th August 2016
4 minutes read
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How can we address low awareness of Industry 4.0 in the UK? Anthony Walker, strategic manager (LCR 4.0) at Liverpool John Moores University, shares his thoughts.

In modern global manufacturing, industrial leaders are ever increasing the need to innovate and adopt new technological advances to remain competitive.

Industry 4.0, the 4th Industrial Revolution, is a concept that is becoming increasingly familiar and focuses on digitisation of physical assets and integration into digital eco-systems with value chain partners. Ultimately, this hinges on the generation and analysis of data to create value.

Recently, Insider published an article around the ‘gaping hole’ in Industry 4.0. Providing a solution in Liverpool City Region is LCR 4.0, an innovation project part funded by the European Regional Development Fund to help SMEs increase productivity by adopting and embracing Industry 4.0 technologies.

The term Industry 4.0 has been talked about for a couple of years, but what does it actually mean to modern manufacturing enterprises? Most companies accept there will be benefits using smarter analytical tools to stimulate competitiveness and lower manufacturing costs, but the situation remains that a large number of companies (particularly SMEs) simply do not know how they will implement such changes to reap the rewards.

A recent article in Insider magazine highlighted the ‘gaping hole’ in Industry 4.0 knowledge. The article acknowledges that there is very low awareness of Industry 4.0 in UK manufacturers and more needs to be done to support and assist this sector.

This is corroborated by a global report published in April 2016 by PwC claiming key findings that no industrial company can afford to ignore the fundamental changes Industry 4.0 will bring.

To address this challenge, key assets in Liverpool City Region have come together to develop LCR 4.0 – a transformational innovation support project to help SMEs utilise Industry 4.0 technologies to increase productivity in local companies by supporting the development of smarter products, smarter processes and smarter supply chains. This project aims to be the first of its type in the UK, to actually help companies implement new technological developments and fully embrace the benefits that Industry 4.0 will bring.

LCR 4.0 is a partnership between the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool City Region LEP, Sensor City and Hartree Centre. The project brings together key assets with the skills and expertise to support industrial growth, merging the virtual and physical world to ultimately transform modern manufacturing and associated supply chains.

The time for talk is over, the time for action is now. To remain competitive in the global market, the UK needs to stop talking about Industry 4.0 and start implementing it. LCR 4.0 is the first step in making that happen in Liverpool City Region.

Anthony Walker
Strategic manager (LCR 4.0)
Liverpool John Moores University