The Fourth Industrial Revolution is not a thing of the past, confined to school textbooks – this surge of change is happening right now, all around us.

Not unlike previous industrial revolutions throughout history, its occurrence highlights a need for change, modernisation and an upheaval in the way current processes are carried out.

The mantra, ‘out with the old, in with the new’ certainly applies here. Thousands of manufacturing hubs are embracing the current technological changes by actively adopting new machines and software in their factories. So what does this mean for your business?

The four crucial areas of transformation

  1. High-performance machines

First things first – in order to be in with a chance to beat your competition, you will need to ensure that you are operating machinery that is adding, rather than detracting, value to your business. If you have an older machine model that is constantly in need of repairs and services, isn’t too flexible in its output range, and isn’t quite cutting it (excuse the pun) then an upgrade may be in your favour.

Without being aware of it, dealing with older machinery can be a hindrance to your company’s performance, inherently slowing down production rates, and producing output that is no longer top-of-the-range in terms of quality. Services and repairs also eat into your time and cause delays and stops to production, costing you both time and money.

Investing in a new machine can not only give you a smoother manufacturing process, but it will also give you back time and money to utilise in more valuable pursuits. It doesn’t always have to break the bank – check out our range of stock machinery available, which include laser cutting, CNC and waterjet cutting machinery as well as 3D printers.

  1. Intuitive software

Once you are satisfied that the machinery you are using is at optimum performance standards, it’s time for the next step in the Industry 4.0 process – built-in software. This step is crucial for gaining 360-degree visibility of orders, stock levels, machine performance and much more. Along with this valuable insight, you gain the power to become more efficient, solve and analyse problems that crop up quickly, and tap into new areas for growth.

Software such as Trumpf’s TruTops range can be used to programme your laser cutting machines, analyse the financials in terms of customer orders, and allow you to boost your business’ overall performance.

  1. Scalable storage

Housing stock in your factory facility can become a nightmare when it comes to accessibility, space, and scalability. In order to ensure your business has room to grow, there needs to be enough storage space available to house increased stock for new products or to satisfy more demand for existing output. Therefore, you may consider automated storage facilities.

As well as having room to grow, it’s essential that stored items are easy to access – goods to person warehousing is one of the most integral aspects of the Industry 4.0 revolution. Rather than wasting time searching for stock and leaving yourself at risk of injury at the point of retrieval, you might consider a built-in automated storage system, which automatically retrieves and delivers items at a comfortable ergonomic height for the user. This speeds up the stock retrieval process as well as ensuring that all stock materials are stored safely and securely, without risk of damage or injury to persons.

  1. Harness new technology

Additive manufacturing is one of the major buzz words associated with Industry 4.0, as it is a technology that is rapidly becoming more advanced, with its user community increasing – based on innovative applications of the technology. 3D printing can be used as an aid in the manufacturing process, producing low-cost prototypes at high speed. It can also be used to print high-functioning parts and test materials in the production process, helping to inform decisions on the most durable material to use.