9 July 2020

SCITalks – Myths and realities of the manufacturing digital revolution

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SCI Online Webinar - 16.00 – 17.00 (UK Time)

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Digital technologies are reshaping the way production operations are carried out across manufacturing, be it in the automotive sector, aerospace, processes industries, or food and drink. A paradigm shift, Industry 4.0, is occurring from centralised systems to decentralised autonomous systems. How can this new paradigm help, and what is its role in addressing today’s wider challenges including the need for greater resilience in manufacturing companies and their supply chains, working towards achieving net zero, and the realisation of a more circular economy?

Amidst the buzzwords and hype, this talk aims to answer some of these central questions, as well as address some of the myths and realities of digitalisation.  Is it really a new phenomenon?  What is Smart Manufacturing and what will be the impact of technologies such as analytics, IoT, big data, and digital twins on manufacturing?  The talk will explore the value of integrating digital technologies with physical manufacturing thereby creating cyber-physical systems characterised by a shift from centralised to decentralised architectures.  Consideration will also be given to some practical issues such as accommodating legacy equipment, whether collecting more data is better, whether effective digitalisation is expensive to achieve, and whether fears related to the potential lack of workforce skills and the need for retraining are well founded.


Robert Harrison

Robert Harrison is Professor of Automation Systems and head of the Digital Technologies Directorate at WMG, University of Warwick. He focuses on R&D related to manufacturing digitalisation, Industry 4.0, and the Internet of Things, and how these new paradigms impact on and support the lifecycle of automation in industry today and in the future. His work includes the creation of digital twins, virtual engineering tools, and manufacturing analytics and optimisation.

His expertise is underpinned by a lifetime’s experience of working in systems integration and engineering tools and methods for automation systems realisation in close collaboration with industry. He has conducted collaborative research programmes with a wide range of companies and has more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and a wide network of academic collaborators, nationally and internationally. Previously a founding member of the MSI (Manufacturing Systems Integration) Group at Loughborough University, a Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore, Ford Motor Company, and Schneider Electric, and recipient of a Royal Academy of Engineering Global Research Award in the field of Modular Reconfigurable Manufacturing Automation. Robert has also played a major role in the UK and Europe in research related to the realisation of service-oriented distributed systems for embedded devices and the integration of business systems with SoA-based automation systems, with a particular focus of expertise on the creation of lifecycle engineering tools and related data models.

16.00 – 17.00 (UK Time)
This event is free to attend. Please register to secure your place.

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