Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things have been around for almost a decade. If you searched the internet right now you could find hundreds, if not thousands of articles to read about it.
NPE in 2018 was largely dominated by Injection molding machine companies, robot companies and auxiliary equipment manufacturers showcasing how they are integrating the latest technology adapting to the idea of interconnectivity, but why aren’t tier 2 custom injection molding companies using it?
Below are 5 reasons in my opinion we do not see industry 4.0 technology outside of large tier 1 companies and OEMs right now.
- The ROI is too long: A lot of companies operate under the rule of thumb that a capital expense needs to pay for itself in 3 years. It is a fairly common business practice and unfortunately for companies presenting an improvement project that contains industry 4.0 technology it can mean that the obvious cost savings don’t show a pay back in three years or less.
- Industry 4.0 Technology is too expensive to implement: Not to be confused with ROI, this perspective simply comes down to companies not having the money to implement the technology. When you are talking about replacing injection molding machines the cost to implement the new technology can be very high.
- “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”: Countless injection molding companies in the industry are still using injection molding machines from the 80s and 90s, their company is profitable, and ownership is satisfied with how they perform. They don’t see the need to upgrade to new technology when the way they’ve been doing business for years still works today and they don’t want to upset the status quo.
- Unawareness of the possibilities: Many executive level people in the industry have only scratched the surface of what industry 4.0 can do and haven’t done their homework to really understand how effective the technology can be on an operation and truly understand the benefits of integrating this technology.
- Not Part of the Strategy: Unfortunately,Industry 4.0 sometimes just is not part of company strategy for growth. When talking about strategy for improving shop floor efficiencies, marketing improvements and sales growth, traditional methods of achieving success in those areas are still used.
These reasons for not investigating and implementing industry 4.0 technology in large part is due to a lack of understanding of what industry 4.0 technology is and the many ways it can benefit a company. Industry 4.0 is the future of manufacturing and tier 2 companies that evolve and put focus on its implementation will have a big advantage going forward.
Author: Adam Smith, President of Millennium Plastics.
Millennium Plastics is a high-volume injection molding company that specializes in tight tolerance molding. Utilizing the latest technologies and engineering expertise, Millennium Plastics provides best-in-class quality.
To learn more about how Millennium Plastics is using Industry 4.0 technology to lead the way in the future of injection molding visit www.millennium-plastics.com