Industry News

Peter Hearn 2019 AUSPACK Business and Industry Conference

Organisations must embrace technology changes, says robotics expert

Posted on August 30th, 2019 in Industry News

While some organisations are fully embracing Industry 4.0 and reaping its benefits, others are still wary of the change. However, with industry 5.0 on the horizon, embracing advances in technology is the only way forward.

That was the message from Peter Hern, sales development manager for Universal Robots SEAO, at the 2019 AUSPACK Business and Industry Conference.

What are the benefits of Industry 4.0?

Change for change’s sake rarely brings much success, but if you’re closed off to the idea of change then you’re likely to be left behind.

Too many businesses think that past strategies and setups will provide continued success, but with competitors upgrading systems they’re reaping the many benefits of Industry 4.0. From reduced costs and waste to improved productivity and production times, there are plenty of drivers for organisations to move to Industry 4.0.

Peter said, “There’s got to be benefits. Why does somebody want to go down this track of Industry 4.0 and further? Well, of course, increased productivity is a big thing. How do we increase our productivity? How do we lower our costs? We also see improved quality and a reduction in waste and rejects.”

The differences offered by Industry 5.0

While each industrial revolution comes about by owners looking to streamline their operations for maximum benefits, each has done this in a different way. For Industry 5.0, the focus is back on staff and the importance of human skills.

Peter said, “When you compare Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0, you start to see some of the differences.”

“Industry 4.0 is replacing platforms or people, Industry 5.0 is improving. Industry 4.0 is about standardisation — doing lots of the same thing — whereas Industry 5.0 allows for a lot more mass customisation, which is the customers are demanding. Industry 4.0 is about value-creation from a monetary perspective, Industry 5.0 is also about monetary value but also value for our workers.

“We’ve got to look after our workers if we want to keep on manufacturing. It’s part of our corporate social responsibility, creating a good environment for our workers. Keeping our people employed, but keeping them employed in value positions not simple, repetitive, dull, boring jobs. There’s benefits to be had that look after their workers.”

The added benefits of more Australian jobs

There’s a myth that automation and technology can lead to fewer jobs. In truth, very few jobs can be fully automated, and it tends to be the dull and repetitive tasks that benefit from Industry 4.0.

This allows organisations to use their staff more wisely, taking them away from that type of work and moving them into high value and more productive roles.

Peter said, “One of the things that I talk about is robots and, dare I say it, the elephant in the room, a lot of people will ask, are we losing our jobs to robots? Absolutely not. When we talk about automation, less than 10% of jobs are fully automatable. So, losing jobs is not going to be an issue.”

“What we find is that human-robot collaboration is 85% more productive than humans or robots alone, and that was a finding from MIT back in 2016.”

Another element to this is that with reduced costs and improved productivity, companies can afford to stay in Australia (or move back to Australia) which means more jobs stay in the local economy.

Peter added, “Another great one is reshoring. We’re losing too much manufacturing offshore. If there’s an opportunity to bring that manufacturing back to Australia, that’s got to be a great thing. If nothing else, keep that manufacturing in Australia.”

How this leads into Industry 5.0

While some of the defining features of every industrial revolution we’ve seen were the promotion of technology and automation, Industry 5.0 looks to focus on the human factors that make production lines so effective.

Peter said, “Let’s talk about Industry 5.0. Where does it go? What does it really mean? All of these functions of the first four industrial revolutions were are about putting more machines into the operation, and effectively taking people out. Industry 5.0 is moving towards the area of putting humans back into those operations and adding human value to the whole process.”

“In a nutshell, industry 5.0 is the revolution in which man and machine reconcile and find ways to work together to improve the means and efficiency of production.”

Three key takeaways:

  • Technological changes can offer many benefits to organisations
  • Automating mundane tasks frees up your workforce for higher-value work
  • Human/technology collaboration is the way of the future

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