14 November, 2018

Special 21st Anniversary Report - Eventful journey

12 December, 2017

insufficient work for humankind to undertake we will have to have a complete shift in mind set as regards remuneration. I would not be surprised to see a minimum salary for all, but not within the next ten years.”

Hambrook’s take on AI is, as with all things, life moves on. “Just look at the industrial revolution versus today,” he said. “As such, I think it is more about accommodating change and using these innovations to best improve your situation and working environment. In general, younger people are used to embracing change more than the older workforce. However, in the 21st Century I think these attitudes may well even out between the age groups for the better. I think working environments will improve by way of cleaner, safer factories, which are also more efficient. Staff will have more time – and also the modern equipment – to focus on higher quality and broader manufacturing capabilities with the more hazardous and repetitive tasks being given to modern automated machinery. All in all, we are already working smarter than we did 20 years ago due to computerisation, and I feel this will continue to make a step change with AI.”

Kling considers AI almost certainly to be a supplementary asset. “Heavy workloads can be transferred and transformed by robots, and factories are going to become quieter and leaner,” he said, adding that the work is going to become more creative and focused on maintenance and engineering.

Revell is sure the development of AI will indeed reduce the need for certain tasks to be carried out by humans, but he thinks we are some way off of removing the thought processes that drive innovation through creativity and the fast mobility and reaction to change that is unexpected. “This sort of development is understandable for a continuous production line, but there will need to be a lot of development before this can be expanded to bespoke or value-added manufacture,” he said.

Regulatory shifts

With regard to the fluid power and related equipment and systems industry, how have regulations changed over the past two decades? Hambrook draws our attention to the fact that there has been an increased emphasis on machine safety and PPE for a number of years now.

Similarly, Buxton observes that the ever more stringent requirements in terms of health & safety and sustainability are always present, and as technology improves he believes users become better informed and the pressure to improve product quality in these two areas increases. “One of the most obvious areas in this respect is the food industry where CIP regulations were once an obstacle to the use of certain fluid power technology (notably pneumatics) – this is no longer the case as technology stays abreast of these demands,” he said.

Jones commented that legislation has changed to ensure the use of more efficient motors. He explained that these are covered under the new IE standards with IE2 being mandatory since June 2011 improving to IE3 on fixed speed machines with motors from 7.5kW to 375kW since January 2015 and then further extended since January 2017 to cover motors from 0.75 to 375kW. Jones pointed out that Lot 31 is now focusing more and more on the actual efficiency of the compressor, but has not yet been finalised.

Brooks made the point that the UK’s involvement with Europe has significantly aided the development and introduction of global standards for energy efficient technologies. “BCAS has, through the BSI, had a major influence in getting the compressed air industry well and truly onto the path of energy efficient, carbon reducing

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