Industrial PhD: Realising the Potentials of Industry 4.0
Innovation Consultant Christina Nissen Kristensen has been accepted as Industrial PhD-student in a collaboration between Eltronic A/S and Aalborg University.
Industry 4.0, Internet of Things, Big Data, Digitalisation – you have probably heard of them all and given them quite a lot of attention without really figuring out, what they mean and how you can use them.
The task of mapping Industry 4.0 for Danish manufacturing companies and giving the new era of industrial production an applicable dimension has been taken on by Innovation Consultant, Christina Nissen Kristensen. In the fall of 2017, Christina will begin her new role as an industrial PhD student in a collaboration between Aalborg University and Eltronic A/S.
An Industry 4.0 Assessment Tool for the industry
The main goal for Christina’s PhD is to establish an assessment tool for companies to identify 1) which technologies to focus on, 2) how to implement them and 3) what the business potential of the technologies will be. The purpose of the tool is to create solid business cases by upgrading Industry 4.0 from technological advancements to improved competitiveness.
“In my experience, many companies find it difficult to navigate in the vast number of technological possibilities offered by Industry 4.0. Which technologies are ‘nice to have’ and which can drive the business forward?” Christina Nissen Kristensen explains about the background for her PhD studies.
A solid grasp of the potentials
Christina Nissen Kristensen has spent close to a year on defining and describing Eltronic’s understanding of Industry 4.0 in a beta version of the assessment tool. During this time, she realized that Industry 4.0 has many potentials but that despite of this many companies find it difficult to get a solid grasp on the use or potentials of the new industrial technologies.
The business potentials of Industry 4.0 have been studied internationally by PWC and Boston Consulting Group. The survey predicts that by 2020 companies investing in Industry 4.0 will annually reach a 3.6 % reduction in costs, a 2.9 % increase in revenue and an average increase in business performance of 6.5% after a few years. Furthermore, these improvements are expected to lead to a 6% increase in employment during the next ten years.
Combining technical, scientific and business knowledge
The collaboration between a university and a company means that during her research, Christina will have access to the latest knowledge within technology, science and business. “The focus of most companies has been on the use of the technologies. For the scientific world, it has been a matter of mapping the technological development and the scientific meaning of this. I wish to combine the two with the business understanding, I have from Eltronic. I hope my research will give Industry 4.0 a strong position theoretically, methodologically and practically,” Christina Nissen Kristensen explains.
The beta version of the assessment tool highlights the many potential focus areas for improving business performance. The tool is currently being used by Eltronic to analyse the current and future state of Industry 4.0 in industrial companies.
“We have a great understanding of the Industry 4.0 technologies and their potentials for improving operational performance. But as many of the technologies are new, there is also quite a lot we don’t know. We strive to help our industrial partners using the most recent knowledge – the PhD-collaboration is the best way for us to do this,” Jakob Stepping Petersen, director of Eltronic Industrial Innovation, explains about Eltronic’s participation in the project.
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