17 July 2020

Sony UK TEC takes a look at the top tech shaping today’s manufacturing

Sony UK Technology Centre has always aimed to be at the forefront of manufacturing innovation.

From our Pencoed-based facility we have consistently championed Industry 4.0 and pushed the boundaries of technological advancement.

Of course, there’s no way of discussing progressive manufacturing techniques without mentioning new digital industrial technology.

Here at Sony UK TEC, we’ve fully embraced manufacturing automation and advancement, enabling us to produce industry-leading innovations such as broadcast and 4K cameras, the Raspberry Pi, and a host of international third-party products.

It’s fair to say we’ve come a long way since our opening in 1993.

So, with the launch of Wales Tech Week 2020, we wanted to share our industry expertise and look back at some of the most pivotal technology which has shaped our operations, and manufacturing globally.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

The IIoT has been game-changing for sectors globally and is something which we at Sony UK TEC have keenly embraced.

The introduction of IIoT has enabled manufacturers to become more efficient, productive, more risk averse, financially savvy, and innovative – the potential here is truly endless!

Benefits to manufacturers are its ability to collect and analyse data in real time, helping to pre-empt system failures and predict maintenance, enhance safety measures by monitoring machine performance and manufacturing processes in real time, and track supply chains.

Here at Sony UK TEC, we have adopted IIoT across a number of our departments and it has had an outstanding effect on how we function as a business. We are continuously looking for new ways to maximise the effectiveness of our processes, and these devices have enabled our manufacturing output and cost effectiveness to exceed our previous performance bench marks.

Providing our engineers with the real-time data needed to make quick and effective decisions on the line has made a phenomenal difference to our manufacturing processes.

Robotics

The benefits to so-called “lights out” operations are significant, they increase productivity, limit human error, perform lengthy repetitive tasks, and are able to work 24/7 allowing them to become more cost effective and competitive in the market.

And despite popular misconceptions, robotics can be utilised easily across all production volume environments to complete manufacturing tasks, from building circuit boards to product packing.

Discussion around robotics inevitably spark fears of job losses, however we’ve consistently seen robotics used efficiently alongside human operators and engineers, with robots performing high volume production, enabling operators to focus on the more complex, high value tasks. Implementation of robotics, working in collaboration with operators, results in an improved workflow, reduced build time and maintains quality standards.

Robotics are undoubtedly being utilised to maximum effect right now, as manufacturers attempt to maintain production volumes during the coronavirus pandemic. And there is no doubt that they will play a key role in adapted manufacturing processes going forwards, as organisations seek to continue production while limiting coronavirus transmission.

3D printing/Additive Manufacturing

Creating a customised product or prototype has never been so easy.

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has been ground-breaking in providing greater accessibility and simplifying manufacturing at all levels.

From creating a prototype to spare parts, we’ve been really excited by the possibilities of 3D printing!

Where previously traditional manufacturing methods would be required to create a product by cutting away excess material, and ultimately creating waste. Additive manufacturing simply adds the required layers which are needed to create the end product – which enhances efficiency and productivity.

And in an industry where prototyping, cost-effectiveness, waste reduction and customisation are crucial, you can see why additive manufacturing has rightly been utilised so frequently.

At Sony UK TEC, we have adopted this innovative process into our R&D procedures, which has enabled us to become more innovative, flexible, and competitive.

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