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Increased connectivity with digital twins
Until the beginning of the 21st century, the only way to get information about the status of operating industrial equipment was to inspect it. Today, increased computing power and connectivity are making it possible to virtualise this task by creating and maintaining a digital twin of anything from electric motors to PLC systems. The concept doesn’t stop at industrial facilities. It’s predicted that by 2018, we will begin to see the first stages of digital twins for entire cities being developed. Here Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of European Automation explains the concept of digital twins and the impact it will have on industry.
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Foodie fads spark robot rethink
TV cooking programmes are driving legions of fans back into the kitchen. Seven of the top 10 most-seen shows of 2015 were episodes of Bake Off, with demands for specific ingredients and products featured, sparking a sales bonanza after each broadcast. Similarly, a slew of new dinner kits are inspiring home cooks to prepare more ambitious meals at a fraction of the effort. This trend is compelling retailers to rethink store layouts, how they group products together for consumer convenience and how swiftly they react to the scramble for the latest ‘must have’ ingredient or kitchen gadget.
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The delicate balance of costs versus productivity
European manufacturers are estimated to spend over EUR400 billion every year on maintenance activities. Studies show that about 30 per cent of failed machinery can be repaired at half the cost of buying replacements, which suggests a potential 15 per cent saving. John Mitchell, business development manager at CP Automation, discusses the issues that stop manufacturers cutting costs and improving productivity – the essence of lean manufacturing.
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