In a country with strong manufacturing traction, innovation and sustainability of the welfare policies depend on the industry. Enterprise 4.0 responds to the need to stimulate companies to invest in that productive and training innovation essential for improving the competitiveness of our SMEs. The most recent figures on investments demonstrate the success of the Calenda Plan, with a pick in the volume of machinery produced and ordered in Italy, which has surpassed pre-crisis levels.
Therefore, Industry 4.0 is not just automation: it is a general transformation of the production process that will bring about a complete re-examination of the world of work. The key drivers are innovative investments, skills, technologies, enabling infrastructures and public support tools. Digital is a true industrial revolution that is bringing great advances in technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence and robotics; IoT and high performance processing have an impact on the very nature of work and society as a whole; research and innovation are essential factors for job creation, economic growth and global competitiveness.
The final goal is therefore the creation of an intelligent, innovative, competitive and sustainable industry. But at what point are the Italian manufacturing companies? What is the contribution of the protagonists of automation to this innovation process and what are the local skills? Authoritative figures from the industrial and academic world will outline the situation and introduce the issues that will be explored by suppliers of mechatronic technologies and solutions during the conferences. In addition, it will be presented an update of the “Mapping of mechatronic skills in Italy” study carried out by Politecnico di Milano with the collaboration of ANIE Automazione and Messe Frankfurt Italia, and focused this year on the analysis of the industrial fabric of Piedmont region.
The mechatronic approach in the digitalized industry requires that the mechanical, electrical and IT design proceed in parallel synergistically and automatically. The results of the design, before being used to physically build the machine, plant or production line, are tested and validated in simulation on virtual models, pushing design risks to a minimum. The total integration during the study of new automation projects and the interconnectivity of the various platforms and development environments is crucial precisely in the phase in which innovative solutions can make the difference on the final result.
The use of advanced mechatronic solutions in the good's production phase leads to speed, flexibility and production performance never achieved with a traditional approach. The integration and communication of systems, the interconnection of components and the supply chain, artificial intelligence and, more generally, the digitalization of production processes ensure greater transparency and efficiency. Through continuous monitoring of production data, minimization of material and energy waste, improvement of man-machine and machine-machine coordination, it is possible to meet the needs of a market increasingly driven by customization without losing efficiency of mass production.
Performance represent a strategic lever for the competitiveness of manufacturing companies and concern different areas, such as production, logistics and services. The interconnected factory has network infrastructures on which various types of information can travel that, aggregated and made available at every level of the system, allow to optimize production, efficiently plan maintenance interventions and act in advance on possible failures, avoiding those sudden blocks that generate costs caused by the plants loss of productivity. Therefore, industrial communication is a fundamental aspect for maximizing performance and is closely linked to the issue of safety: for an industrial company interconnected at all levels, cyber security is an essential requirement.