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Industries Adopting Smart Automation

According to a recent New Equipment Digest article by Laura Davis, four industry sectors have implemented Industry 4.0 technologies more rapidly than their peers. Here’s a quick look at which sectors are on the cutting edge of advanced automation technologies and why they’re pushing the envelope: Industries Adopting Smart Automation.

1: Automotive

Davis notes that, “[a]ccording to ABI Research, the automotive sector is the biggest spender on digital transformation, spending $100 billion in 2022.” Why? Although automotive manufacturing has long been an early adopter of automation technologies, “[o]ne of the biggest reasons for this is that OEMs and their suppliers needed to adjust for the move away from the Internal Combustion Engine to electric power trains.”

The electrification trend will continue to drive automotive manufacturers to seek solutions to improve efficiency and productivity. According to Davis, “[t]he switch to EVs requires OEMs to turn to software to design these new types of vehicles and…current production lines will have to be transitioned to accommodate these new types of vehicles without creating downtimes and choking production volume.”

2: Electronics & Technology

Following closely behind the automotive sector, electronics and technology manufacturers have also invested heavily in Industry 4.0. According to Davis, “[s]pending on digital technologies for this sector is forecast to surpass $130 billion in 2030, up from $95 billion this year according to ABI Research.”

Why? “Manufacturers of electronics produce millions of items to increasingly precise standards. These standards are moving beyond the capabilities of humans on a production line and creating the need for more sophisticated avenues such as automation, with machine learning and robots being top players.” For example, “[s]emiconductor manufacturers have already largely removed humans from the entire production process and have become an example of the lights-out manufacturing concept.”

3: Oil & Gas

The third industry sector investing heavily in Industry 4.0 might surprise you. Oil and gas might seem like a relatively low-tech sector, but Davis points out that “[t]he oil & gas industry remains in flux due to economic conditions around the world. Producers use digital technologies to monitor their operations to ensure they get the maximum yield from each location…[as well as use] technologies to monitor emissions and conditions in the local area.”

The cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline also spurred oil and gas companies to begin “prioritizing investments in cybersecurity.” Overall, these “challenges mean that suppliers must increase their spending on digital technology by a CAGR of 5.8% (2022 to 2030), reaching $15.4 billion in 2030, according to ABI Research.”

4: Fast-Moving Consumer Goods

Rounding out the top four industries investing heavily in Industry 4.0 are consumer goods manufacturers, which find themselves “under pressure from every angle. The cost of raw materials and ingredients continues to rise, but retailers often refuse to accept price increases; that assumes the producer has a supply chain that delivers all the ingredients when required. In addition, firms are under pressure from an ESG perspective to adjust their packaging and use less water in their operations.”

Like oil and gas companies, consumer goods manufacturers “concerned that their recipes do not fall into the wrong hands” have begun “to prioritize spending on cybersecurity.” Advanced automation technologies also have an important role to play in other areas, such as “supply chain visibility and forecasting or packaging redesigns.” All this means big spending on Industry 4.0 technologies. “ABI Research has forecasted total spending on digitalization will reach $23.8 billion in 2030 (a 15% CAGR).”

As these and many other industry sectors turn increasingly to advanced Industry 4.0 technologies, employers are finding that they have a shortage of highly-skilled workers able to operate, maintain, repair, and troubleshoot these technologies. Whether employers decide to train a current worker or hire someone with the special skills they need, they’ll need to be sure workers have the skills to hit the ground running.


If workers possess a certification from the Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA), employers can feel confident they’ve already proven they have the knowledge and hands-on skills needed for working with advanced smart automation technologies. SACA has been hard at work collaborating with industry leaders to develop a wide variety of industry-standard certifications that will help employers find workers who possess the advanced connected-systems skills they need to take their businesses to the next level. Be sure to check out SACA and all it has to offer!


Source: Industries Adopting Smart Automation

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