Siemens Digital Talks 2019: Hosokawa Micron Ltd Invited to Take Part in Panel Debate

Iain Crosley, Managing Director of Hosokawa Micron Ltd, took part in the ‘Digital Talks 2019: Transforming Industry Together’ summit, held in June at the Arena and Conference Centre on Liverpool’s iconic waterfront. Organised by Siemens, one of the UK’s leading digital pioneers in the fields of electrification and automation, the free-to-attend flagship event demonstrated how digital technology can be used at every stage of the manufacturing lifecycle and that transformation is a journey of continuous improvement.

Growing more popular year-on-year, the summit offered a chance for 500 attendees to immerse themselves in an exciting programme of industry-specific events, peer-to-peer stories, exhibitions, technical talks, demos and debates. The event also included a Collaboration Zone filled with technology, innovation and finance partners who were ready to provide practical guidance to companies in the market to embrace Industry 4.0 practices for themselves.

Hosokawa Micron is a UK manufacturing company at the forefront of digital transformation – with the latest technologies and innovations already invested and integrated into the business. The company has partnered with Siemens to, not only implement Hosokawa’s own digital journey, but also help other businesses and their own customers to do the same.

Iain Crosley has been an advocate of Industry 4.0 from its inception almost ten years ago. His in-depth knowledge and understanding of how intelligent software created from Industry 4.0 practices can benefit the manufacturing sector now and in the future means that Hosokawa Micron is already deeply engaged on its digital transformation journey, with Industry 4.0 technology at the heart of the company’s design and manufacturing practices.

As a contributor to the UK’s government-led Made Smarter initiative, amongst other similar affiliations, he is in an ideal position to share knowledge and help to shape the UK manufacturing story of the future and was, therefore, delighted to have been invited by Ian Elsby, Siemens Digital Industries Head of Chemicals, to participate in a four-person panel discussion on the subject of ‘Digitalisation in the UK Chemicals Industry’.

The insightful debate gave Iain an opportunity to talk about his involvement in the ground-breaking Made Smarter Review and its much-needed findings, which concluded that productivity in the UK manufacturing sector is relatively low (compared to the same sectors in Europe – and particularly in Germany) and there are big opportunities for improvement.

It found that UK industry is quite traditional and has been run for many years with no major investment, with an attitude of “make do and mend” at its heart. UK manufacturers also use lots of labour to improve process efficiencies rather than look at alternatives to the way efficiencies are made.

The review also highlighted the importance of encouraging employees to be more efficient while enjoying a modernised and fit for purpose manufacturing process at the same time.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Here, we share key takeaways from Iain’s contribution to the discussion…

The Three Outputs to Make Better Efficiency Happen

  1. Innovation – Identifying the technology to support the change
  2. Adoption – Adopting the technology and going forward with it
  3. Leadership – Employees realising that the way companies manufacture today is different to the way they will manufacture in the future. People need to change and this will come from up-skilling, a cultural workplace shift, plus leadership and encouragement from the top

How do you go about this?

Companies need to look at their business aspirations and what their KPIs and goals are and act accordingly. To begin their digital transformation, they first need to formulate a digital plan – a strategy that will inform their business decisions on a wide range of subjects.

The Five ‘Ps’

PEOPLE + PLANT + PROCESSES + PRODUCTION = PROFIT

Most companies are driven by profit, but how do you achieve that in the manufacturing sector? The key is improving each of the other four elements. Most companies can’t double the price to double the profit, so they must become more efficient in those areas to become more profitable.

So what has Hosokawa Micron been doing to achieve greater profitability through digital transformation?

Hosokawa has worked on understanding its processes. We are unusual in that we don’t make our own products in the Contract Manufacturing side of the business. We take our customers’ materials, process them for a limited time and have to achieve good results by maximising our process efficiencies.

How can you model those processes?

It is very easy to do it mathematically (theoretically); the hard bit is modelling from materials that change all the time, but if you’ve got data coming from the plant itself, it has to be right. To put this into practice, Hosokawa Micron has created a suite of tools which allows us to Understand, Monitor and Control processes and apply this across the business. We can use this information for prediction, as well as production. Developed in collaboration with our digital technology partners, including Siemens, the brand name for our intelligent software is Hosokawa Gen4.

To learn more about Hosokawa Micron’s unique intelligent software brand, Hosokawa Gen4, and how it could help your business navigate its own digital journey, please click here.

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