This article explains how Proactor is helping manufacturing customers win in these unprecedented times. But first, let’s take a look at how we got here.
THE FIRST INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
It was at the turn of the 17th and 18th century when the first motorized industrial machines were built, powered by vacuum generated by a steam engine. Took almost a hundred years before real industrial applications began gaining a foothold in England after James Watt patented the Watt’s steam engine in 1784. Spinning Jennies began replacing laborious manual work in yarn spinning, leading to mass layoffs and the first Jennies being burned to the ground by unemployed spinners. This is how the first industrial revolution started.
It then took another hundred years for the next leap in the manufacturing industry. The era of a vast amount of breakthrough innovations was powered by both electricity and petrol. Light bulb, electric motor, generator, combustion engine, and precision machine tools led to a real influx of mass production lines and conveyor belts working – the second industrial revolution. The two World Wars were the prime movers in the development and industrialization of vehicles. Airplanes and manufacturing machinery made it possible to further increase the pace of development. This was also the turning point of information management.
THE CITY OF COMBUSTION ENGINES
These were the times when companies like Strömberg (now ABB) and Wärtsilä started to bring all this to Finland. The first engine manufacturing in Vaasa began in 1901 and companies like Wickström and Olympia made the city famous for combustion engines. Wärtsilä then built on these capabilities and introduced Vasa 14 diesel engine in 1959.
This takes us to the third revolution, which started in the 1960’s fueled by yet another war – Vietnam and the cold war in general. When two superpowers raced for world dominance, huge amounts of investments were made to develop semiconductors, microprocessors, and automation in general. Mechanical became one with electronics, airplanes turned into spaceships, milling machines into CNC machines and humans gradually began leaving the conveyor belts. Mail changed to e-mails and work began to really go global. It also put a phone in your pocket, one that eventually offered access to infinite data.
HOW TO FIND SKILLED WORKERS?
We could say that the current industrial era, the fourth one, began with the adoption of the internet and digitalization into manufacturing systems, driven by the sharp fall in the cost of semiconductors and the following huge increase in computing power.
Now we have the IoT, AR, AI, ML, 3D, Big data and many other acronyms available to support the increase in productivity. The central goal has been to remove humans from the equation, and this has led to great improvements in unit economies, quality of work, and especially work safety. Work in general has moved from a shopfloor to offices, but in many industries, humans still play a vital role in manufacturing and assembly work.
We live in truly unprecedented times and witness the central gravity of global power moving to new positions. We are reshaping the markets, cutting ties, and reducing dependencies to the east. Most nations are looking at self-sufficiency and security of the critical infrastructure. This means also that global manufacturing will move from global to more regional, even national. For European manufacturers, this means a radical shift in supply strategies and requires them to increase their local capabilities. One of the biggest challenges for manufacturers in Europe and in Finland is to find skilled workers to enable this. The discussion now is how we make the work meaningful for people again.
BECOMING THE FIRST-CHOICE MANUFACTURING PARTNER
At Prohoc group, we believe that the future winners are the ones who are able to adopt human-centric strategies and bring meaningfulness. The winners have great company culture and career development. They know how to combine the creativity of humans with the increased adoption of robotic automation.
With our Production solutions / Proactor, we are shaping how the manufacturing industry is dealing with demand fluctuations, access to a skilled workforce, and the adoption of human-robotic collaboration.
We help our customers and people to adopt industry 5.0, meaning we put people, resiliency, and sustainability as the key strategic focus areas in everything we do.
Our vision is to become the preferred industrial partner for OEM’s, replacing payroll services providers with fixed price assembly and production development services, and helping customers to adopt modern ways of operating and maintaining their manufacturing assets.
With our Industry 5.0 manufacturing and Smart Factory solutions, we are a good partner to meet the VUCA world with. Our customers see improved capability to meet demand fluctuations and faster development cycles in their development.
Our team of +160 manufacturing engineers and doers at Proactor is ready to take on that challenge!