19 July, 2024

Inaugural Talking Industry digital broadcast tackles key manufacturing issues

04 August, 2020

Talking Industry, a series of digitally broadcast panel discussions, featuring leading experts from the automation and manufacturing industries, has been launched by DFA Media - the publisher of Hydraulics & Pneumatics, Plant & Works Engineering, Smart Machines and Factories and Drives & Controls, took place of July 14th. H&P takes a look at one of the key discussions during the inaugural event.

Talking Industry is a new series of live digitally broadcast panel discussions with leading experts from the industrial, automation and manufacturing sectors. These digitally broadcast panel discussions present a unique opportunity to discuss strategies, technologies and issues within both the industrial digitalisation sphere and the wider engineering community.

The first in the series, Talking Industry – Manufacturing, took place at 10am on Tuesday 14th July and focused on three broad areas: increasing productivity and efficiency; reducing downtime and costs; and future technologies. The panel of experts explored a wide range of subjects and topics, and viewers benefited from hearing their opinions on strategies, technologies and other aspects of the topic. Each topic was discussed for about 30 minutes, and was followed by an interactive Q&A session with input from the viewers.

Although not possible to give a complete overview of the discussions that took place over the 1 ½ hour event, this review therefore focuses on the panellists’ experiences of the Covid-19 lockdown period and how it has influenced the future. A complete on-demand video of the whole event is available at: https://tinyurl.com/TalkingIndustryDownload1

Affects of Covid-19

The businesses of all our panellists had all been significantly affected by Covid-19, but in different ways. Nikesh Mistry (GAMBICA) had the broadest overview, because although the trade association’s staff had been working from home throughout, they conducted regular surveys of their members’ experiences. As with many surveys, the trends over that time tell a story.

"We ran surveys during the pandemic, starting in early March,” he said. “As you can all imagine, the initial feeling was very negative. We were asking our members what they predicted for the next six months ahead, in terms of sales pipelines, impact on supplies, actual impact on sales. And how would they envisage the effects on their place of work, their general lifestyle, and productivity.

"Last week was the most recent survey, and while the overall impact was still significant, still forecasting reduced sales, the duration of the impact is now expected to be shorter, at less than six months.”

Mistry acknowledged that the member companies had needed to be both innovative and resilient. “Being able to securely and remotely connect into machinery and do updates, though possible before, is now actually being implemented.”

Representing an additive manufacturing (AM) company, Andrew Jones (HP) was prominently involved in managing the response to CoVID, through the supply by users of emergency PPE and ventilator parts. But AM had a wider role, too. “Generally, industry supply chains ground to a halt during the lockdown,” he said. “Companies became desperate for parts that that were not only not being made in the UK, but could not be procured from abroad either. When China stopped producing things, companies were scrambling for whatever they could find.“

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