Generic Challenges and Automation Solutions in Manufacturing SMEs

David Grube Hansen, Ali Ahmad Malik, Arne Bilberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

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Evermore research is conducted on smart manufacturing, digital manufacturing and other aspects of what is expected from the fourth industrial revolution known as Industry 4.0. Most of the research of Industry 4.0 is currently a better fit for large corporations than for SMEs, which in Europe however represent 98% of the manufacturing industry. In general, SMEs produce high-mix low-volume products, which require a high degree of flexibility. Historically flexibility and automation have been contradictory, but as automation becomes smarter, digitalized and less expensive, this may change which this paper is going to challenge in the context of Lean automation. Through a two-year automation research project where several automation solutions were built and implemented, it was verified that SMEs face very different challenges. In this paper the analysis of the companies, and automation integrators of the project, identifies a correlation between the challenges, age and size of the companies. The identified correlation lay ground for an Industry 4.0 light concept, targeting the identified generic challenges of companies employing 10-50 people. The solutions presented are based on cloud computing, Internet of Things and horizontal integration to simulate digitalized order handling and traceability in smaller companies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 28th DAAAM International Symposium
EditorsBranko Katalinic
PublisherDAAAM International
Publication date9. Nov 2017
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-902734-11-2
Publication statusPublished - 9. Nov 2017
Event28th International Symposium of the Danube Adrian Association for Automation & Manufacturing - Zadar, Croatia, Zadar, Denmark
Duration: 8. Nov 201711. Nov 2017
Conference number: 28


Conference28th International Symposium of the Danube Adrian Association for Automation & Manufacturing
LocationZadar, Croatia
Internet address
SeriesAnnals of D A A A M & Proceedings


  • HMLV manufacturing
  • Industry 4.0 light
  • IoT
  • Lean automation
  • SME


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