Moving towards the Digital Plant. Technology and profitability, keys to the digitization roadmap

“One fundamental aspect that any manufacturer looking to invest in Industry 4.0 has to take into account, is to evaluate which technology works best to achieve its objectives and improve its ROI”. An interview with Xavi Vera, Industry 4.0 business unit manager.

Insights

03 Nov 2022

“The future of the automotive industry is electric, autonomous, shared, connected and upgradeable every year.” This is how PwC summarizes the era of automotive industry transformation in its report “Five Trends Transforming the Automotive Industry”.

We’re at a turning point, in which mobility plays a fundamental social role, shapes the infrastructure of our cities and is increasingly connected to the needs of the users. With these changes, the automotive industry is starting to steer towards the production of vehicles designed from the point of view of use, to connect with the different lifestyles of their users.

This transformation, along with an increasingly competitive landscape, has many implications for the manufacturing industry, which is increasingly aware of the need to increase investment in the processes of digitization and integration of its production chain. But this path towards truly digital plants, with more flexible, scalable and optimized production processes, needs a roadmap, a Digital Transformation Plan.

One fundamental aspect that any manufacturer looking to invest in Industry 4.0 has to take into account, is to evaluate which technology works best to achieve its objectives and improve its ROI. In this article, we outline the keys to a Digital Transformation Plan in the automotive industry, based on success stories with leading manufacturers, as a provider of engineering and innovation solutions throughout the life cycle of the product.

Investing in R&D: a ‘must’

In view of the market’s growing demand for vehicles, maintaining production volume, quality and profits is practically a utopia. The need to invest in manufacturing capacity is nothing new, but the way in which investment is made does need to be taken into account. Manufacturers who opt for flexible, scalable manufacturing will have more opportunities to maintain and consolidate their position in the market in the long term. Companies that invest 25% of their R&D budget in software applications will be rewarded with significant growth.

At CT, we prepare Digital Transformation Plans to guide our customers in any aspect that involves Industry 4.0: from the digitization of their internal and external value chains (processes related to suppliers and customers), of the product (increased added value), to their business models (generation and exploitation of new services and products, with the consequent construction of a complete ecosystem of digital services accessible to the user).

The Digital Transformation Plan, vital to reduce time and costs

Industry 4.0 offers a wide range of technologies, but not all of them meet the company’s strategic needs. It’s first necessary to know the goal and strategy, to evaluate and choose the most appropriate technology that best aligns with them. Some of the technological proposals that we have studied and implemented in our clients’ processes include:

• Sensorization of production processes using IIoT technology.
• Digitization of production plants.
• Internal logistics simulations.
• Application of cobots in manual processes.
• Robotic cell simulation.
• Data Analytics applications for operational efficiency, among others.

Having a plan also helps us to give clients a view of the value that the new technology will bring to their business, with respect to the investment that will be required. Having a roadmap already prepared and studied also reduces the time and costs that result from trial and error testing, which would otherwise be necessary. These aspects are essential to enable our clients to take this path with certainty and peace of mind.

The digitization of companies is also a priority in the roadmaps of local and national governments, which are seeking to modernize Spain’s productive fabric. Programs like the Digital Kit, as part of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, the Digital Spain 2025 agenda and the SME Digitization Plan, give companies a digitization voucher that they can use to purchase digital solutions already available on the market, such as process management, Business Intelligence and analytics and cybersecurity, among many others.

Certified service provider of ACCIÓ – Agency for the Competitiveness of Companies in Catalonia

At the local level, actions such as the ACCIÓ Coupons for company competitiveness offer a direct economic discount that can be exchanged for an expert service in internationalization, innovation or Industry 4.0, with advice provided by providers certified by ACCIÓ. CT has a business unit in Catalonia, a certified supplier, specialized in the integration of 4.0 solutions to improve business processes, including those for additive manufacturing or the simulation and programming of robots.

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