As digital technology ushers in a fourth industrial revolution, what does it mean for the workforce? Will we all be working with robots?
Smart manufacturing is being dubbed ‘the fourth industrial revolution’, or Industry 4.0. Why? Because it will transform the way manufacturing is structured and the jobs that make it happen.
Picture the assembly floor of a car factory staffed entirely by machines. And picture again these machines interacting with human workers – Cobots or collaborative robots, talking to the cars they’re making, and seeming to apply intelligent decisions as to which assembly station they go to next. Bespoke components are being printed to orders fed in by a computer that’s taking instructions from a design department 5,000 miles away, which in turn is being informed by a depository of data gathered from end users worldwide. It’s all happening with seamless efficiency. Productivity is up, quality is impeccable and the customer is more satisfied than ever before (…)
This somewhat Utopian vision is what Industry 4.0 will look like and, to a certain extent, it’s happening already. At Siemens’ Amberg Electronics Factory, the products control their own assembly and all processes along the value chain are integrated via IT, thus enabling increased productivity to one product per second throughout the working year, failure rate reduction to almost zero and costs cutting. By retraining its employees, Siemens has simply redeployed its Amberg workforce into positions of control rather than assembly.
So what sort of jobs will the manufacturing workforce be doing in 10 or 20 years’ time? Thilo Stieber, Luca Benporath and Davide Criscione, all believe that in order to answer that question you must first understand the context of the revolution (…) Download the full story below.