This month’s issue of Sensor Readings magazine – which you can find soon on this website and on Issuu.com – features an article about the recent Automatica event, held every two years in Munich, Germany.
It’s probably the largest exhibition in the world built around the industrial automation industry.
The main themes or trends Automatica is highlighting this year appear to be collaborative robots, industrial internet, digitalisation, and new telecommunications networks, such as 5G.
Each one offers huge areas to explore in terms of writing articles, whether we decide to provide markets trends, or business perspectives, or a deep-dive into the technicals.
One of the areas we think we need to delve into is computing because it is at the centre of manufacturing, logistics, and so many other industries.
This is increasingly starting at the research and development stage.
Designs are produced and simulated on hugely powerful computing systems which are capable of storing all the real-world physics data relating to all the materials used in the simulated design.
Similar simulations of systems can be performed for entire operations – whether it is manufacturing or logistics. You could look at a virtual factory or a warehouse and see how it runs before actually building or implementing it in the real world.
Computing, then, would seem to hold the key to a more efficient design, research and development process in every industry.
But the management of operations which have already been established – producing or moving manufactured items – is also increasingly virtualised and managed on computers.
All that computing could be done on-site if you have powerful enough computers, but increasingly it’s being done in the cloud.
Additionally, if you are talking about higher-level requirements, you could go to supercomputers or even quantum computers.
It will be interesting to cover these sectors.