Molex continues development in driving major advances over its Industry 4.0 and digital manufacturing initiatives. These advances and the introduction of Flexible Automation Modules (FAMs) extends Molex’s Industrial Automation Solutions (IAS4.0) by enabling supply chain stakeholders to create software-defined machines, robots and production lines that satisfy escalating demands for connected, secure, scalable and efficient operations.
“Traditional manufacturing systems lack the flexibility, connectivity and distributed intelligence needed to effectively address rapidly changing market demands and consumer expectations,” said John Newkirk, VP and GM, Industrial Solutions, Molex. “Our legacy in industrial automation, coupled with Molex’s longstanding relationships across the factory automation ecosystem, is fuelling the development of open, modular IAS4.0 and FAM solutions that significantly improve efficiency while reducing complexity, cost and time to market.”
According to a June 2021 survey commissioned by the company on the “State of Industry 4.0,” more than half of those surveyed expect to reach their Industry 4.0 goals within two years. However, almost all the participants, representing robot, machine/production line and device or control systems manufacturers, reported notable technology challenges. Among the biggest impediments recognised were barriers caused by separate IT and OT network infrastructures, restrictive communication protocols, limited remote access, poorly aligned cloud infrastructure and data solutions as well as inadequate security capabilities.
IAS4.0 and FAM are ideal for transforming industrial automation supply chains in the automotive, food and beverage, and material handling industries. By decreasing rigid hardware dependencies, manufacturers can reconfigure production lines to support the manufacturing of custom products. In an automotive setting, for instance, this enables various car models to be manufactured on the same production line while automating changeover of different features and trim levels, increasing supply chain resiliency as material and component availability shift.
Future applications of the company's advanced industrial automation solutions include the deployment of ruggedised IP67 devices to simplify wiring while improving reusability and portability; the deployment of advanced sensors, such as motion safety, needed for collaborative robots; and zero-touch provisioning and asset management services that update devices, machines and systems automatically or on-demand.