MiniTec embraces role of ‘one-stop shop for smart industry’
There’s no denying the enormous impact Industry 4.0 is having on technology, manufacturing and business. MiniTec is a company that's embracing the fast-changing developments. Not only is it enabling its own manufacturing process to become smarter, it states, but also manufacturing solutions to allow other business to become smarter, too.
The smart solution
MiniTec calls itself the ‘one-stop shop for smart industry’. Its modular aluminium profile systems provide bespoke solutions for businesses. They are individually specified to meet customer’s individual manufacturing requirements, so there are no surplus costs, components or wasted time and resources.
As a global company, it has a large resource pool, it points out: a worldwide library of components in addition to local, on-the-ground experts who can offer creative process improvements.
Gary Livingstone, MiniTec UK’s MD, knows how Its capabilities benefit others: “We provide an invaluable resource to modern manufacturers. Because industry moves so quickly, some of the grassroots knowledge and understanding can be lost in translation or completely overlooked. At MiniTec, we have the experience and expertise to offer solutions that businesses might not know how or where to source, or even understand how cost-effective and time-saving they can be.”
Keeping in line with Industry 4.0 advances
The company’s strategy is focused on improving productivity in its own business and for its customers. It has integrated different technologies, introduced automation and increased the technology used. Its solutions allow manufacturing businesses to be more streamlined, it adds, through a reduction in manual processing and with the appropriate use of resources.
“Integrating MiniTec components results in smoother assembly lines, fewer errors in picking and placing workflows, increased workstation ergonomics and the ability for one-piece-flow assembly lines to handle small quantities. Together, these improvements equal a reduction in waste and an increase in automation. Smart manufacturing becomes possible with leaner and more closely monitored and controlled processes.”
Will automation replace manual jobs?
Inevitably, the more mundane and repetitive tasks will be replaced – but not at the cost of people, states the company. “Staff will be able to be trained in more skilled applications, which also meets the skills shortage faced by the industry: make the most of people’s knowledge and ability where it is really needed and let technology take care of the unskilled processes. Workers are likely to be more fulfilled at work and less likely to leave the industry, keeping investment within and actually allowing for growth. People investment is already a key part of MiniTec’s strategy.
“They know that not all companies have staff or engineers with the same degree of knowledge they once had and so will turn to an expert third party, like MiniTec, to manufacture its entire process or the parts of it they are not equipped to do. Automation will allow MiniTec to focus its skilled staff where they are most needed and nurture Its talents.
What else can we expect to see in a smarter future?
Given the rapid pace of technological advancements, we are probably just scratching the surface of potential, comments MiniTec. “The Internet of Things (IoT) is enabling the automated elements to communicate, ‘smart’ technology is becoming commonplace in our homes and collaborative robots (cobots) are being introduced to production lines. All this technology is becoming easier to manufacture and therefore more affordable, and this, in turn, will allow businesses like MiniTec to develop Its range and offer even more bespoke solutions.
What could stop the future being so smart?
The industry can’t be expected to carry these huge changes by itself. Livingstone sees the biggest challenges are those beyond MiniTec’s control: “One of the great limiters to the advancement of technology in the UK is the industry’s ‘make do’ attitude. How can any business or sector be expected to improve productivity and work smart, if there’s no willingness to improve or if the proper investment to do so isn’t available?
"How can we attract and retain the best talent, grow our skills base and be recognised as a major worldwide technology player? Investment needs to carry through to people, as well as smart processes. I don’t know how any business owner can plan for growth and development, if they can’t retain their staff.”
Undoubtedly, exciting times await the technology industry, including MiniTec. He knows his team need to be smart about the individual components of its modular system, think smart while constantly looking for ways to further automate and streamline the manufacturing process for smart factories. “And should suitable investment be granted to the industry, just imagine the opportunities and possibilities that await,” he concludes.