We stand on the brink of a technological revolution set to fundamentally transform our everyday lives. Known as Industry 4.0, it is set to be unlike anything humankind has ever experienced before, but one thing is clear – this new era will transform the way we mass-produce and pave the way for the “smart factory”, an interconnected, agile and highly efficient manufacturing facility.
This has the potential for huge benefits, including increased productivity and automation. However, with technology set to become the cornerstone of the entire manufacturing process from design to distribution, what does this mean for cleanliness and safety?
Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?
Automation has the potential to hugely reduce material waste, thanks to the accuracy of robots, while it is also precise and repeatable, meaning repairs are few and far between. This will help ensure we are not wasting any of our planet’s resources in the production line.
Robots can also work longer and faster, which increases production rate. And, automated systems can perform multiple tasks, reducing the number of people or shifts needed, hugely reducing overheads. It sounds promising – increased production, and eco-friendly happy consumers.
However, one of the biggest issue’s automation raises, is that it arguably increases unemployment, as there are less employees required in the production line. Automated machines can also incur a large initial investment, and, in the event they go wrong, equally high repair costs.
Having a machine that can only perform certain tasks limits the versatility and bespoke product options. Additionally, it is likely that these machines will require a motor to function, which may require gases or chemicals in order to operate – making them not so eco-friendly after all.
What is the impact on manufacturer cleanliness?
Less material waste, and less necessary repairs, arguably means that manufacturing plants will be cleaner. Having less employees also arguably means that there are less people to clean up after them, be it washrooms, walkways, or accidental spillages.
However, it is essential that the manufacturing plant remains clean, as the machines could be seriously damaged by fumes or contaminants, which will have a knock-on effect on production time. This could also potentially in turn lead to high, costly volumes of defect products.
Industry 4.0 presents several challenges but with the right cleaning strategies, health and safety procedures, achieving a hygienic and safe manufacturing environment is an easy target. And, while the cleaning requirement may be different, it will require equally high standards.
If you would like more information about how Ecocleen can help make your manufacturing business a safe, clean and healthy environment, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] or giving us a call on 0800 612 6756.