HANNOVER Germany -- Woodworking Network caught up with Industry 4.0 guru Georg Frey at Ligna 2019 last week in Hannover.  Frey is also president, of Lignum Consulting and a noted speaker at Woodworking Network's Under 40 Leadership Conference to be held July 16 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the day before the AWFS.  Frey will be discussing Industry 4.0 in his presentation titled, The Connected Factory/Industry 4.0.

Frey said the connected factory is already transforming the woodworking and furniture industries. "For example, robots are now integrated into more areas of manufacturing than in the past.  Enhanced vision systems allow robots to work more closely with their human production colleagues than in the past, when human workers were shielded from working near robots with cages, fencing and safeguarded perimeters."  

Another trend Frey discussed at Ligna was the growing flexibility of all manufacturing environments.  "Most machines are fast," said Frey. "We need them to be flexible as well.  More and more focus on production is in automation."  Frey is currently writing a 7-part article in FDMC and on woodworkingnetwork.com devoted to Industry 4.0.
 
According to Ligna management, more than 50 percent of Ligna visitors rated the importance of Industry 4.0 from high to very high. Some 40 percent of them were either upgrading their existing machinery or considering the purchase of new machines to reap the benefits of Industry 4.0 technology.

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