Protolabs and Censuswide survey suggests manufacturing is not ready for Industry 4.0

By Sophie Chapman
The manufacturing solutions firm, Protolabs, and the survey specialist, Censuswide, have consucted research into the future of Industry 4.0 in manufactu...

The manufacturing solutions firm, Protolabs, and the survey specialist, Censuswide, have consucted research into the future of Industry 4.0 in manufacturing.

According to the survey, one fifth of UK businesses claim that the manufacturing industry is unprepared for Industry 4.0.

28.2% of senior business decision makers still associate the industry with assembly lines, whilst 24.6% associate it with manual labour.

Only one in ten of the decision makers connect Industry 4.0 and manufacturing – suggesting software, robotics, and advanced automation do not link with the sector.

15% of those surveyed utilise no automation in their manufacturing operations, with 9.7% not anticipating to increase use in the next five years. 15% expected to marginally increase automation usage.

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“The UK manufacturing sector is powered by innovation, and driven by entrepreneurial individuals partnered with highly-skilled engineers,” commented Stephen Dyson at Protolabs.

“This sector has embraced the benefits of digital technologies and automation possibly more than any other, and now the growth of digitisation is starting to transform manufacturing.”

“‘Industry 4.0’ is a more than a concept – we are living in it right now. However, the results of this survey indicate that there is limited understanding of Industry 4.0 and the impact it has already made, and will continue to make, to the progress of manufacturing.”

“Additionally, the survey statistics reflect that manufacturing is not viewed as a high-tech, digitally-savvy industry, which is what British businesses increasingly are. Instead, the inherent perception remains of manufacturing with manual, labour-intensive processes.”

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