ISMR June 2022 - Page 29


Above and right : Automated machine tools from AMADA at Wrekin Sheet Metal .
of sectors . From refrigeration to point of sale interior and display solutions , we can turn metal into whatever a client needs and we do it in a way that means they retain complete control ,” it added .
The business has been highlighted for the efficiency with which it satisfies customer orders , particularly in the current landscape of tactical supply chain management . It has firmly embraced the digital technology driving the fourth industrial revolution and even offers a sheet metal app to its customers which enables them to interact with Wrekin ’ s team throughout the duration of a project
“ From our point of view , investing in the latest and best equipment is a constant process , as we always strive for new ways to improve and enhance the services that we offer . We also understand the value of communication , and of putting the power of information firmly in the hands of our clients . It combines with the degree of automation we offer and our equipment suppliers , such as AMADA , to create a truly 21st century set of sheet metal solutions ,” said the sheet metal specialist .
Wrekin ’ s innovative outlook saw it embrace Industry 4.0 early and , as a consequence , it is seeing real competitive advantage .
“ It ’ s important that this is driven from the top down with a keen eye on the benefits that digitisation brings and the return on investment that it generates ,” explained John Kennedy , Operations Director , Wrekin Sheet Metal . “ The advantages that we see are spread across the organisation . Our processes give us real-time data that allows us to understand current operational efficiencies and supports our continuous improvement ethos .”
Industry 4.0 transition also requires initial foresight and an innovative outlook .
“ Our Board is progressive , so introducing Industry 4.0 as a cornerstone of the strategic plan for success may not have been as arduous as for those working in companies with a more traditional outlook . While the transition aligned with our future strategic roadmap , we also
John Kennedy , Operations Director , Wrekin Sheet Metal . needed to be clear how the digitalisation process would safeguard economic , social and environmental sustainability . Practical issues

What is Industry 4.0 ?

Industry 4.0 refers to the fourth industrial revolution . It describes the growing trend towards automation and data exchange in technology and processes within the manufacturing industry , including The Internet of things ( IoT ); The Industrial Internet of things ( IIoT ); Cyber-Physical Systems ( CPS ); smart production ; smart factories ; cloud computing ; cognitive computing ; Big Data and Artificial Intelligence .
This automation creates a manufacturing system whereby machines in factories are augmented with wireless connectivity and sensors to monitor and visualise an entire production process and make autonomous decisions .
The fourth industrial revolution also relates to digital twin technologies , which can create virtual versions of real-world installations , processes and applications . These can then be robustly tested to make cost-effective decentralised decisions .
Industry 4.0 transition
In the corporate world of manufacturing , Industry 4.0 sees the integration of disparate IT systems and technologies delivering the digitisation of entire value chains . However , Wrekin Sheet Metal saw Industry 4.0 transition as an opportunity to digitise certain areas of its operation to support core organisational strategies . One of these was to create a lean digitised manufacturing process that would create a set of unique and valuable competitive advantages from improving environmental impact to predicting when to order raw materials and ensuring orders were delivered on time and on budget .
The transition to Industry 4.0 requires both vision and investment .
Image : Shutterstock . com .
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