Manufacturing is being automated as a way to both compete against imports from ‘low cost’ economies and to ensure consistent output quality. John Browett of the CLPA looks at how the upgrade of systems using open networks can provide major cost benefits while improving system performance

It is very easy for politicians to say: “let’s improve the productivity of our industrial base” but many European manufacturing companies already have their factories and plants working at above global average efficiencies. So what else can be done to increase output?

The first practical issue to address is finance. It is rare to have more than enough money to go around. Usually there is fierce competition between every department in a company to secure investment funding; when production wins, the funds have to be spent wisely.