Study: Additional Industry 4.0 planning needed

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Posted by of Insight Publications

Northeast Wisconsin manufacturers are beginning to integrate Industry 4.0 technologies into their operations, but more needs to be done, according to a new survey.

The NEW Manufacturing Alliance collaborated with area stakeholders and the Strategic Research Institute at St. Norbert College on a study that looked at current and future technology needs, skills and talent for manufacturers. Microsoft funded the study, which covered the entire industry, with metal, paper, allied products and machinery representing the largest sectors reached.

The study showed manufacturers are either investing or holding steady in at least some Industry 4.0 technologies, which marry advanced production and operations techniques with smart digital accessories. However, 88 percent of companies have only a partial plan or no plan in place to implement Industry 4.0.

The study also showed:

  • Areas of greatest current investment in Industry 4.0 technologies are cybersecurity and automation-robotics.
  • In the next two to three years, manufacturers plan to focus the greatest investment in Industry 4.0 on growth in automation-robotics (62 percent), cybersecurity (56 percent), cloud computing (56 percent), industrial internet of things (48 percent), smart integration (48 percent) and big data analytics (47 percent).

The most in-demand jobs during the next three years include process engineers, cybersecurity officers, industrial computer programmers, data management analysts, data engineers, data architects and application developers.

NEWMA members plan to grow educational and career pathways in technology to accommodate Industry 4.0 needs in Northeast Wisconsin.

An article in the July issue of Insight on Manufacturing will dive deeper into the study and the way forward.