Adapting to new technologies 13 August 2018

Technological advancements are a common occurrence in today’s fast paced, digital society. However, as increasingly innovative and intelligent solutions are released, there’s often a split reaction between the digital innovators who want to be the first to implement them and those who hold back, preferring more traditional methods. Unlike the technology it concerns, this divide is nothing new. Here, Houghton International discusses the stalemate between those who welcome change and those who shy away from it.

The technology we take for granted nowadays is dependent on a single major technological milestone – the advent of electricity. Following the invention of the light bulb in the late 1870s, 1881 saw Thomas Edison build electricity generating stations in Manhattan and London. 12 months later electricity was available as a commodity, and changed industry forever. At the time, many factories and industries were reliant on steam power, driven by large, cumbersome and often dangerous machinery. Once electricity was made available, this could all change – but it didn’t.

It might not be the 1920s, but we’re still facing a similar technological vs traditional battle. Take electric motors themselves for example. While they have been fully adopted into many applications, business owners are still facing decisions on whether to upgrade their model to one that promises further efficiencies.

The disparity between those who embrace change and those who do not is being further widened by Industry 4.0. Dubbed the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 is transforming industries through automation and real time data. One example of this is condition monitoring, the process of using technology to monitor the state of machinery to detect significant change and therefore problems.

Instrumental in predictive maintenance, condition monitoring can involve techniques such as vibration and lubricant analysis as well as acoustic emissions. For those who have enabled Industry 4.0 already, they are already at an advantage, as they are able to anticipate when maintenance work will be required, in turn reducing the impact unplanned downtime can have. Those who are unaware of the potential of Industry 4.0 are unable to access this level of insight, putting them at an automatic disadvantage.

Extracting the benefits from new technology
There will always be new technology on the horizon; that’s how society got to where it is today and how it will continue to move forward in the future. So what advice can businesses benefit from?

Fully establish the benefits of any investment in technology you’re planning to make in advance and establish how it will be positioned within your operations. Consider the amount of work that is required for implementation and whether this and the associated costs are justified by what you’ll gain. If in doubt, enlist the help of a professional to advise you on the right solution.

Whether you’re implementing a small change or a major alteration to your company’s infrastructure, technology remains at the heart of how every sector now operates. Shying away from digital advancements is no longer an option; choose to be an innovator or delay the implementation of these new developments. Either way, change is happening now – and you can’t afford to stand still.

About the author
Founded in 1984, Houghton International has expanded over the last 30 years into a multi-million pound, multinational business. The company has grown from originally serving one customer to now working with over 200 customers globally.

Houghton International currently exports to over 23 countries worldwide, including Canada, Greece, Hong Kong, Australia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Norway, Venezuela, Malaysia, the Middle East, the USA and the Caribbean.

Houghton International specialises in the repair, maintenance and life extension of rotating electrical assets. Servicing a broad range of sectors, its customers benefit from over 30 years of multi industry experience in electro mechanical engineering and coil manufacture.

Deputy Editor

Claire Aldridge Deputy Editor t: +44 (0) 1727 814 450

Biog

Having joined the magazine in 2012, Claire developed her knowledge of the industry through the numerous company visits, exhibitions and conferences she attended both in the UK and abroad.

Responsible for social media and the online platforms, Claire prides herself on keeping readers well informed and up to date with the latest industry news.