Automation Alley’s 2019 Technology in Industry Report Debuts New Velocity Index

Troy’s Automation Alley has unveiled the findings of its annual report on Industry 4.0 and introduced a new element, the Velocity Index, which illustrates the maturity of Industry 4.0 technologies and their expected rate of growth.
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Automation Alley
Automation Alley in Troy has unveiled the findings of its annual Industry 4.0 report. // File photo

Troy’s Automation Alley has unveiled the findings of its annual report on Industry 4.0 and introduced a new element, the Velocity Index, which illustrates the maturity of Industry 4.0 technologies and their expected rate of growth.

Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is centered on eight core technologies within advanced manufacturing: the industrial internet of things; robotics; artificial intelligence; big data; cloud computing; cybersecurity; advanced materials and additive manufacturing; and modeling, simulation, visualization, and immersion.

This year’s report, revealed April 29 at the Detroit Institute of Arts, is titled Industry 4.0: From Vision to Implementation.

Automation Alley’s new proprietary Velocity Index covers the growth of Industry 4.0 technologies within the automotive, medical, retail, and aerospace sectors to determine the risks associated with investment. Internet of Things (IoT) was noted as the most mature of the eight core competencies of Industry 4.0, with an ROI that is beginning to drop. Big data, on the other hand, remains in relative infancy, with a promising ROI, according to the report.

Overall, the report combines research from Michigan and Canadian universities, with corporate partner insights, and is comprised of emerging trends, challenges, opportunities, case studies, and implications for industry. It is designed to help manufacturers, educators, and policy makers keep pace with rapid technological changes and is centered on the eight core technologies of Industry 4.0: the Industrial Internet of Things, robotics, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, cybersecurity, additive manufacturing and advanced materials, and modeling, simulation, visualization, and immersion.

Other key findings and action items in the report, which were delivered at the DIA event by Cynthia Hutchison, senior director at Automation Alley, include five strategic steps for the Industry 4.0 journey. They are:

Understanding Industry 4.0 concepts and to what degree a company plans to implement Industry 4.0 technologies.

Developing a solid action plan of what their objectives, expected benefits, and return on investment measures are related to Industry 4.0 technology implementation

Training, despite the technological disruption caused by Industry 4.0, humans will remain the central core component of healthy organizations and societies. Creating a culture of change adoption and constant innovation also is critical.

Implementing Industry 4.0 as an entire ecosystem that goes beyond hardware and software and must integrate with pieces of the supply chain and customer base to truly be impactful.

Partnering since the capital and deep technical expertise for understanding, planning, executing, and continually re-evaluating Industry 4.0 are much greater than most small and medium-sized businesses can invest in individually.

Tom Kelly, Automation Alley’s executive director and CEO, offered next steps for Michigan’s Industry 4.0 preparedness.

“For the second consecutive year, the Technology in Industry Report has focused solely on Industry 4.0,” says Tom Kelley, executive director and CEO of Automation Alley. “This year’s findings reinforce the urgent need to tackle the smart factory revolution and advanced manufacturing from multiple angles, including the human resource perspective, to maintain Michigan’s manufacturing prowess and leadership.

“We now have a deeper understanding of the barriers that can impede that leadership and will continue to work with our manufacturing and education communities, as well as state government, to plan additional programming and targeted initiatives to address them.”

The report is available online for purchase at automationalley.com/techreport.

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