Next in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion’s im­pact on mills

New Zealand Logger - - Woodtech 2018 -

IF YOUR SAWMILL OR WOOD PRO­CESS­ING PLANT doesn’t adapt to changes tak­ing place as part of the 4th In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion, it may not sur­vive into the fu­ture.

That was the mes­sage from speak­ers to a gath­er­ing of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from around the in­dus­try at the WoodTECH 2018 con­fer­ence in Ro­torua last month.

Wide-rang­ing changes are be­ing forecast un­der In­dus­try 4.0, as the next phase of in­dus­trial up­heaval is known. And man­u­fac­tur­ing will never be the same again.

Nathan Stan­tiall, Busi­ness In­no­va­tion Ad­vi­sor to the Cal­laghan In­sti­tute, says that In­dus­try 4.0 is set to bring a whole bunch of new tech­nolo­gies to­gether that will make man­u­fac­tur­ing smarter, more con­nected, more ef­fi­cient and much safer.

It will see the use of more robotics, aug­mented re­al­ity, ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing, some­thing called the Dig­i­tal Twin and it will all be brought to­gether un­der the um­brella of the In­ter­net of Things.

For sawmillers and wood pro­ces­sors it could see ro­bots work­ing along peo­ple on the pro­duc­tion line, do­ing repet­i­tive or dan­ger­ous tasks and smarter pro­cess­ing tech­nolo­gies that an­tic­i­pate prob­lems be­fore they hap­pen and tak­ing cor­rec­tive ac­tion.

And that is where Dig­i­tal Twin comes in. It’s a vir­tual model of a process, prod­uct or ser­vice that al­lows anal­y­sis of data and mon­i­tor­ing of sys­tems to head off prob­lems be­fore they even oc­cur, pre­vent down­time, de­velop new op­por­tu­ni­ties and even plan for the fu­ture by us­ing sim­u­la­tions.

If all this sounds like a scary sce­nario to mill own­ers and work­ers alike, Mr Stan­tiall has some sooth­ing words. He says one of the jobs of the Cal­laghan In­sti­tute is to help man­u­fac­tur­ers iden­tify what they need to do to adapt to these changes and as­sist them through the process. There are even grants avail­able to ease the fi­nan­cial bur­den, for such things as gain­ing ac­cess to a univer­sity stu­dent or phD re­searcher to work with the com­pany.

More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at www. callaghanin­no­va­tion.govt.nz.

NZL

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