May 16, 2020

Leading people through technological change

Industry 4.0
Neil Lewin
5 min
Festo discusses how to implement technology in Industry 4.0
It used to be that the barriers to entry in manufacturing were high. Entering the market required enormous investment. While that is still the case for...

It used to be that the barriers to entry in manufacturing were high. Entering the market required enormous investment. While that is still the case for many organisations, because technology is changing so rapidly, new younger and dynamic organisations are entering the market and chasing market share. Often fuelled by outside investment that sees the potential.

Research from S&P 500 companies has shown that a large, successful company in 1964 could expect to hold on to their position at the top for 33 years. By 2016 that time had decreased to 24 years and is forecast to shrink to just 12 years by 2027.

Much of this reduction in lifespan is due to the rapid pace of technology. Companies that have recently dropped off lists of top US companies include Eastman Kodak and the New York Times. To be replaced by the likes of Facebook, Paypal and Netflix. The adopters of the latest technology tend to win the race and today’s race in manufacturing is Industry 4.0.

One of the many challenges of change is that the more established your company is, the harder it can be to bring your people with you. We are creatures of habit and if we like our work as it is today, then why would we want to change? At Festo, we have seen that the number one barrier to the success of Industry 4.0 is often the engagement of staff and the adoption of new skills. This challenge is acute within manufacturing, particularly when looking at jobs that could be replaced by autonomous machines. A key question is how do you engage your people to deliver change when that change could eventually replace them?

When working with manufacturers, we often refer to the guidelines published by the VDMA (German Engineering Federation) which Festo was closely involved with developing. These guidelines provide a practical toolkit for companies to look at their Industry 4.0 readiness across the two dimensions of products and production. While the final outcome might be to remove human intervention from processes, the stages beforehand rely on a third fundamental dimension – your people.


Whether you manufacture complete products or single components, there is one key question you need to ask yourself. To what extent can new products be developed or existing ones be further enhanced with the help of Industry 4.0?

The process in the VDMA guidelines is divided into five steps. Starting with a period of preparation through analysis, creativity and evaluation to implementation. Take fault monitoring for example. If your company currently has no fault monitoring systems in place, a good starting place is to develop a rigorous process for manual fault detection. The next step would be to record operational conditions in order to predict and diagnose faults. With the ultimate goal of implementing autonomous control, as this avoids costly consequential damage in the case of failures and reduces the need for human intervention.

By breaking the process down into these manageable stages, Industry 4.0 becomes more tangible, flexible and ultimately more achievable.


Like products, there’s one key question. How can processes be optimised and production costs reduced with the help of Industry 4.0?

For example, we’ll look at the processing of data in production. This is a key issue for Industry 4.0. From a starting point of no data processing, a company might move to data storage for documentation and then analyse that data for process monitoring. Evaluating data for ongoing input into processing planning and control would then become an automatic process. Improving efficiencies and again significantly reducing the need for human intervention.

Not every part of Industry 4.0 can be usefully transferred into this process. Manufacturing simple screws will not need functionalities for data exchange in the future. However, coming up with ideas to increase the efficiency of screw production could have an enormous impact. Going through this process encourages your employees to consider every possible opportunity – always considering the next step towards the vision of Industry 4.0.


As you can see from the examples above, you definitely need your people to be engaged in Industry 4.0. However there are some worrying statistics. According to the Engineering Employers Federation, only a third (31%) of manufacturers or their members understand or are familiar with the concept of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Less than half (42%) were unfamiliar, the remaining being undecided.

Do your people know what Industry 4.0 is and what it means to your business? Or worse, do they feel threatened by the rise in technology and the possible impact on their jobs? To take your people with you on this technological change means Industry 4.0 needs to be a transition process not a wholesale transformation.

Three dimensions of Employee Engagement

You are reliant on your people to identify the potential steps toward Industry 4.0. And identifying change requires your people to change their mindset. They need to be focussed on what can be done in the short, medium and long-term. And then the company needs to support them to drive through the changes. They need to be fully engaged.

We’ve developed the Three Dimensions of Employee Engagement on which you can measure your people. Personal Satisfaction is where an individual is satisfied in his or her role. The second axis is Needs Alignment, where the needs of the organisation and the individual are aligned. The third is Drive. This is the personal drive and energy of employees. A disengaged employee with low drive will be less of a disruptive influence than one with high drive who is keen to convert others to his or her own set of beliefs and opinions.

For the majority of companies, the biggest barrier to Industry 4.0 is understanding the changes that can be made. This isn’t just about whole scale technological change. It’s about taking the steps you need to get your product manufacturing and production facilities ready for Industry 4.0. And just like any other major change product, you have to take your people with you. Build the vision of where you want to get to. Break this down into manageable steps. Engage your people and let them get excited about the journey you’re on and what the future holds for them. They’ll be upskilled along the way and you’ll be Industry 4.0 ready.

Festo Training & Consulting runs training workshops to equip manufacturers with the knowledge and skills to implement Industry 4.0. 

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Jun 17, 2021

Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router

3 min
Siemens’ first industrial 5G router, the Scalancer MUM856-1, is now available and will revolutionise the concept of remote control in industry

Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age. 


Siemens Enables 5G IIoT

The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). 

Siemens presents its first industrial 5G router.
Siemens presents the Scalance MUM856-1.

The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.


Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance


  • Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
  • The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
  • A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
  • Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites


5G Now

“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.


Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said. 


Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future

Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’ 


And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.


The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.


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