How Industry 4.0 is Transforming the Manufacturing Workforce

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Technology Makes Manufacturing Work | How Industry 4.0 is Transforming the Manufacturing Workforce

How Industry 4.0 is Transforming the Manufacturing Workforce

Jessica Tabinor Manufacturing

Technology is driving radical change in the manufacturing industry. The complex manufacturing process is underpinned by pioneering innovation and technology such as driverless cars, self-ordering kiosks and machine learning, to name a few.

Industry 4.0, otherwise known as the ‘smart factory’ or dubbed the ‘4th Industrial Revolution’, will bring computing and automation much closer together as cyber systems monitor the physical processes of the factory and make decentralised decisions based on what it learns.

We take a look at the effect that the digital industrial technologies will have on employees working in the industry:

SKILLS SHORTAGE

The development of new technologies is shaping a new age of workplace skills in the manufacturing sector. Industry 4.0 is skill-intensive and demands the workers to have a variety of skills to perform the jobs in question. Instead of needing the employees which have skills to do the job itself, we now need employees to have the skills to operate the 3D printers, the robots and intelligent systems.

According to research from Deloitte, there will be 3.5 million job openings in manufacturing over the next decade but only enough skilled labour to fill less than half of them.

FIVE TECHNOLOGIES TRANSFORMING MANUFACTURING

We take a closer look at six technologies that are transforming the industry:

Augmented reality

Augmented-reality-based systems are becoming more popular in a world where everything is online. These services can support a range of actions such as assisting with the maintenance of manufacturing equipment by allowing users to confirm inspections on an AE display and enter results using their voice.

Related jobs: Augmented Reality Developer, Augmented Reality Research Engineer.
Qualifications: Bachelor's or Master's degree in Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, or equivalent experience

Analytics

The recording and analysis of data is an important part of Industry 4.0 and will become standard to support strategic decision making. Within the manufacturing industry, data can be used to identify factors that are most critical for improving performance or that need improvement.

Related jobs: Data Processor, Insight Analyst, BI Developer, Data Scientist.
Qualifications: Degree or PhD qualified in either mathematics, computer science, physics, mechanical or electrical engineering or a similar analytical field.

The Cloud

Secure, reliable communications, as well as sophisticated identity and access management of machines and users, are essential. Engineers that are experts in cloud technology and that are able to design reliable and innovative solutions are in high demand.

Related jobs: Cloud Architect, Cloud Pre-Sales / Solution Architect.
Qualifications: Relevant degree and/or experience within the field.

Simulation

Simulation will be used for testing, training, observation and many other aspects of the manufacturing process. It will enable engineers to mirror real-world actions in a virtual world under a controlled environment.

Related jobs: Mechanical Simulation Engineer, Modelling Engineer, Professional Application Engineer.
Qualifications: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science or a related field.

Autonomous Robots

Whilst many companies already actively use robots in their manufacturing processes, the development of autonomous robots will interact with one another and have a greater range of capabilities to free up human time.​

Related jobs: Robotics Engineer, Test Development Engineer, Robotics Research Engineer.
Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline such as Electrical Engineering or Industrial Technology.

ATTRACTING TOP TALENT INTO MANUFACTURING

Although upskilling the current workforce to fill the skills-gap is one very viable option, companies are now being forced to look closer at the tactics that they are using to attract young talent into this industry. A particular focus has been placed on attracting millennials into manufacturing careers so large manufacturing companies are advertising roles on social media and areas where young talent is active.

A particular emphasis is being placed on the idea of using industry 4.0 technologies to work alongside humans to better enhance their role. For example, soon we will be using virtual reality software to train individuals in their field and provide a better understanding of their tasks in order to improve performance.


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