The Industry 4.0 concept seems to have yet to take off in Southeast Asia. What's hindering manufacturers in the region from adopting it?
Industry 4.0 (I4.0)- or 'Smart Manufacturing' as it is called elsewhere or 'Factory of the Future' in Singapore - is still a rather new concept. In effect, it is a vision that will be realised over the next 20 years, and as such is still at an early stage where companies are investigating the benefits and develop roadmaps for its implementation first.
Nevertheless, manufacturers and their suppliers are already preparing themselves by becoming 'I4.0 ready'. This has resulted in many businesses across the region moving to invest in I4.0-enabled machines (i.e. machines that can be connected). However, having connected machines in place is not enough to provide a competitive edge. Companies would need the right infrastructure to acquire, manage and analyse the data captured by such connected machines.
Ideally and in order to share data quickly and safely, all parties would have access to high-speed internet connections and a wide cooperation network along their supply chain.
What are the requirements of Industry 4.0?
More partnerships between companies are required to actively create links between value-added networks, as well as to improve them. Connected production can only take full advantage of potential if it reaches beyond a company's physical and mental boundaries. In addition to this, research, education, training programs, and supplier networks should be strongly interconnected, too.
The resulting knowledge sharing between mechanical engineering manufacturers, users, and suppliers, as well as from strong research partnerships is one of the key benefits of Industry 4.0.
A key pre-requisite for Industry 4.0 to succeed, though, is the establishment of strong data protection standards to create trusted environments within which manufacturers, their suppliers and clients feel comfortable to share confidential and proprietary information. At Bosch, we've based our data protection policy on the high German standards and is working together with partners in all three major economic regions to implement it in alignment with the respective local laws.
Can you share how Bosch is helping its customers embrace Industry 4.0?
In addition to having implemented Industry 4.0 use cases in its plants across to the region, including in Suzhou, China, Daejeon, South Korea and Jaipur, India, Bosch is currently working with numerous manufacturers and machine suppliers to I4.0-enable their products and production lines.
This includes a large automotive manufacturer for which we are developing a solution to monitor their welding machines across the region. We're also working with a medium-sized machine builder and distributor in Singapore to create a solution that will equip hundreds of metal-working machines across Southeast Asia with additional sensors, and to leverage the data from them to provide remote monitoring, data analytics and eventually predictive maintenance services.
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