When Henry Ford introduced mass production, there was a revolution in the productivity scale. Now, manufacturers are using technology to move from mass production to customized production. And it’s happening very quickly.
Just as the Industrial Revolution impacted manufacturing, so is Industry 4.0 now responsible for changing the manufacturing and the metal industry. Consumer expectations and the advent of connected devices and platforms are the driving forces behind technological advances such as mobile 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud and virtualization.
It’s this environment that will fast track visionary companies and leave the others behind.
And yet, for many metal-making plants around the world, there is evidence of a lack of digitization. It might be due to resource restrictions. Or a reluctance to invest in new technology when the current set up is fit for purpose.
But it’s our firm belief that this approach will, in time, lead to a slowdown in business growth. It will undermine innovation.
Data and advanced algorithms are transforming the way the manufacturing industry collects information, performs skilled labor and predicts consumer behavior. Smart plants with integrated IT systems provide relevant data to both sides of the supply chain, more easily, and helping to increase the production capacity. Similarly, the same is needed for the metals industry.
The first step is having near real-time data, whenever needed. Applications such as augmented reality (AR), advanced robotic applications and remote control create the ability to control plant operations from anywhere. Originally, robots were used to perform tedious and repetitive tasks. Now, they can follow more human behaviors, such as cognitive capacity and memory. This opens the door to safer working environments for humans.
Our teams and engineers look for ways to simplify processes and speed collaboration. We are headquartered in Buttrio, north-east Italy and our teams are based in many countries around the world. It’s through the integration of our IT systems that our teams can access the relevant data, quickly, in a more collaborative way and with transparency. It’s as if our teams located across, for example, Asia, Italy and the U.S. were local to each other, instead of separated by continents and thousands of miles.
And that’s where our work with AT&T comes to play. To thrive in this new global, connected, virtualized and digitized world, our global business will always need to adapt. AT&T’s global presence and network is vitally important for us. AT&T is providing us with a global communications and IT network that will help us stay at the forefront of Industry 4.0. We believe its vision will help us grow and innovate, helping us compete and remain sustainable.
The market complexity in the steel industry is continuously changing. Our network services are crucial to our business; communication and collaboration are key for us to innovate and transform into the future. The AT&T global network as well as communication and collaboration services will allow us to better manage these challenges in the market and provide better services to our customers in the future.
With the help of AT&T, flexibility and innovative software-defined and global network services, it’s a journey we are excited to join.