As I have blogged about
previously, Industry 4.0 or the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) has seen
recent traction in the manufacturing landscape, but one of the main issues is
the technology and implementation requires a significant initial investment,
and costly ongoing operating costs.
SMEs are looking for readily inexpensive
and easy digital solutions, they typically haven’t got IT departments as they
often outsource this function, so as well as being low-cost, solutions need to
be easy to use, and maintained by a 3rd party.
However, the technologies that are emerging, can be viable
for SME manufacturers to gain access with technology centres sharing their
equipment and expertise to reduce the impact of the initial investment, and
SMEs should also look to implement Industry 4.0 in small
steps, by identifying areas where the most value can be added to their
business, making the technology work for them rather than it being just another
expense for a bit more insight. As a starting point inexpensive machine sensors
such as energy monitors could be installed to see which part of the production
process used the most power, and then machine utilisation schedules could be
altered for when power is cheaper. A series of small implementations such as
this could kick start the SME Industry 4.0 movement.
Expenditure on machine sensors and adaptive components would
qualify for the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) which is currently £1,000,000
a year from 1 January 2019 for 2 years, and the projects involving automation
and system communications could qualify for the research and development tax
If you would like to discuss this blog in more detail please email Paul Locker or call us on 01772 821 021.
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