The second day of IoT Impact 2019, hosted by the IoT Alliance Australia, saw manufacturers showcasing how IoT was impacting upon their business.
With some manufacturers still using pen and paper for product innovation, according to Bradley Trewin, national sales manager at Bosch Australia Manufacturing Solutions, the opportunity for IoT adoption to improve productivity is huge.
Beyond improving internal processes, there is also the opportunity for Australian manufacturers to be the ones making IoT products themselves, with governments and private enterprises now looking to adopt IoT devices at scale.
David Chuter, CEO and managing director of the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperating Research Centre (IMCRC), outlined the state of the sector, noting that by 2035, the world will have one trillion connected computers, from food packaging, to infrastructure, and clothing.
While the technology here is significant, for Chuter the game changer is the potential for this technology to up-end business models, as this is what will enable successful adoption of Industry 4.0.
Indeed, IoT enables a shift from a “pay-per-product” model to a “pay-per-outcome”. These could be services attached to or enabled by the manufactured product. However, Australia still has some way to go, with Chuter citing a survey of Australian businesses showing that less than 10 per cent have a digital strategy.
One company that is leading this trend is SSS Manufacturing, and its associated arm, IR4. Chris Brugeuad is the CEO of both companies, and is hoping to increase Australia’s uptake of robotics in manufacturing. Coming from a background of structural steel fabrication, SSS Manufacturing grew to incorporate IR4, a turnkey robotics manufacturer, which led Brugeuad to realise that a shift in the company had taken place.
“We are a software technology company that had happened to apply that technology to the structural fabrication of steel.”
Now, IR4 designs and manufacturers its own six axis robots, and has seen a 70 per cent reduction in processing time for the fabrication of structural steel. This experience has now opened up new avenues for the business, such as selling the software that SSS Manufacturing and IR4 have developed to a welding company, Brugeaud outlined.