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The UK tackles Industry 4.0

February 1, 2022
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Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies and technology professionals can play a role in the transformation of the UK’s manufacturers into a more digitized, data-sharing, productive industry.

The UK is preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a sweeping move toward digitization that has pushed forward in spite of difficulties some industries have faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK’s market for factory automation and industrial control systems was valued at $10.8 billion USD in 2020, and it is expected to reach $18.3 billion USD by 2026, a 70% jump over that time period. The sector presents a wide range of opportunities for Wisconsin companies and professionals.

Industry 4.0. takes the emphasis on digital technology to a whole new level with the help of interconnectivity through the Internet of Things (IoT), access to real-time data, and the introduction of cyber-physical systems—the computational and control devices that create the foundation for IoT. Together, they connect physical with digital, allowing for better collaboration and access across departments, partners, vendors, products and people.

With the rapid increase in competition, manufacturing companies in the UK are being forced to adopt newer technological innovations and digital transformation solutions to make their business processes as efficient as possible. For instance, changes in the way devices such as motors and sensors are made offer the automotive industry opportunities to react faster to market requirements, reduce manufacturing downtime, enhance the efficiency of supply chains and expand productivity.

In addition, the UK government has undertaken a new project to create a fully automated drug discovery facility to speed the production of new medicines and transform the pharmaceutical industry. The Rosalind Franklin Institute, in Harwell, Oxfordshire, would initiate hands-free molecular discovery to generate new drugs at a speed more than ten times as fast as the current rate.

On the supply side, many industries are witnessing the introduction of technologies such as the Industrial IoT and robotics, which are expected to disrupt the traditional manufacturing procedures through networked data collection and exchange.

Yet, many small and midsize companies are still hesitant about updating their procedures. The UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre, which opened in 2011 to bridge the gap between academia and industry, is working to bring modern technology into a wide range of fields—from construction to strawberry picking—but still faces numerous challenges.

There are opportunities to harness and new markets to grow, offering Wisconsin companies many options to get involved.  Wisconsin technology professionals also can apply for a UK Tech Nation visa to share their expertise with the UK’s digital technology sector. The program’s goal is to attract the best and the brightest students to expand the UK’s role as a global technology innovation center.

 

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