New Study: Tech Adoption Among Advanced Manufacturers More Than Doubles

New Study: Tech Adoption Among Advanced Manufacturers More Than Doubles

A new Conexus Indiana study shows that more than 40 percent of Indiana advanced manufacturers surveyed have successfully implemented or piloted an Industry 4.0 technology, more than double the figure from a similar study in 2020. Study results also confirmed the impact of the Indiana Manufacturing Readiness Grants program with 94 percent reporting that the grant enabled, accelerated or expanded their tech adoption project.

The study, “The First Signpost on the Road from Early Adoption to Widespread Application of Industry 4.0 Technologies,” is a critical review of Indiana advanced manufacturing and logistics companies’ path toward integration of digital technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and analytics, and artificial intelligence and machine learning, into company-wide operations and manufacturing processes.

Conexus Indiana partnered with the Indiana University Kelley School of Business Center for Excellence in Manufacturing to survey nearly 140 companies. The respondents were from a wide cross section of businesses throughout the state, and small, medium and large enterprises were all well represented.

“We will continue to measure Indiana companies’ tech adoption journey each year as we work collaboratively with our industry, academic and public-sector partners to ensure Indiana asserts leadership in Industry 4.0 adoption,” said Mitch Landess, vice president of Innovation and Digital Transformation for Conexus Indiana. “The year-over-year growth we have seen between 2020 and 2021 in tech adoption and awareness among Indiana companies shows we are headed in the right direction.”

“In Indiana, we make things—it’s in our DNA. With an eye toward the next generation of our manufacturing and logistics economy, Hoosier businesses continue to invest in smart technologies like cobots, machine vision and 3D printing to increase competitiveness, productivity and profitability,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers. “We’re on the cutting edge of a digital transformation, and our state’s advanced manufacturers and logistics companies are accelerating toward Industry 4.0.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Indiana companies are increasing implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies. In 2020, about 20 percent of respondents had successfully implemented or piloted an Industry 4.0 technology. The figure more than doubled in 2021 to 43 percent having successfully implemented or piloted an Industry 4.0 technology;
  • Both large and small companies are reporting rapid adoption of 3D printing (from 24 percent in 2020 to 39 percent in 2021), collaborative robots (from 6 percent in 2020 to 22 percent in 2021) and machine vision (31 percent in 2021);
  • While budget restrictions were cited as the most prevalent roadblock in 2020 to technology adoption, budget restriction is no longer the standout obstacle; and
  • Primary objectives for implementing Industry 4.0 technologies are productivity (64 percent), quality (42 percent) and efficiency (41 percent). Conversely, payroll reduction is at the bottom of the list of priorities for companies that are implementing Industry 4.0 automation.

“Companies are increasingly dedicating resources to Industry 4.0 technology adoption with nearly twice as many companies budgeting and planning for new technologies, signaling continued Industry 4.0 technology adoption growth,” said Mark Frohlich, director of the Gregg and Sabine Sherrill Center for Excellence in Manufacturing at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. “There is a great deal of optimism; future steps need to include full integration of digital solutions across company-wide operations to realize the greatest impact of Industry 4.0 technologies.”

Read the full report.

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