The Industrial Machinery & equipment industry is on the threshold of a major revolution in Africa. With the landmarks of industry 4.0 transition, it is paving ahead for a successful phase. Even though the drive for this growth journey was halted by the pandemic-led disruption in 2020, with Africa being one of the worst hits economically, medically, and politically, it is undergoing a suppressed elevation with more innovation in the coming years.
The sub-Saharan region reported a drastic decline of 2.6% in the economy during a pandemic, forcing millions into poverty. However, it was this gloomy period that is slowly reversing the trend in the region with industrialization as its escape.
The pandemic has shaped the industrial heavy equipment and machinery domain through its challenges and vulnerabilities and pushed the industries for a faster transition to the digital platform. This industrial expansion in Africa is indispensable and is bent on structuring customer proximity, streamlining labour supply, and building a collaborative business model.
To stay abreast with the industry 4.0 ecosystem, digitalization is the future of the industrial heavy equipment and machinery sector, which thrives on:
- Artificial Intelligence for fully automated industry
With the introduction of AI through smartphones, it is now pacing in the heavy equipment industry to lead various operations. African Industries in the future are also expected to rely on AI for predictive maintenance solutions, visual inspection for high accuracy, repetitive operations for better efficiency and health monitoring for long life. AI allows for a flexible and robust system that will adapt to the changing technology and make the manufacturing process more reliable.
2. Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT is the most common trend that is nowhere to go in the industrial revolution, thanks to its adaptability, flexibility, and innovation. With more complex industrial heavy equipment and process, a more advanced connecting system to achieve the wide range of goals set by the organization rises. IoT will help the African industry to achieve cost reduction, improved efficiency, and innovative design with its interconnection over vast network features.
3. Coming together of Office floor and Shopfloor
There has always been a line dividing two sections of the industry- the shop floor and office floor. But, with IoT interconnecting devices and modular, AI-powered machines, this line is on a constant bridging. Production lines are expected to have programs that will seamlessly run as applications on mobile devices.
4. Safety of Employees is prioritized over everything
With safety, a priority in the industrial sector, more than ever, the heavy equipment manufacturing sector will look for alternatives to the workforce in places that are potentially hazardous.
5. Potential Failure Mode Effect Analysis
Bringing in AI and IoT will affect predictive maintenance and offer solutions that will proactively perform analysis for any potential failure in the machinery or process. This will eliminate any chances of machine failure thus cutting on maintenance or rebuilding costs to a great extent. It will also bring down the downtime costs and move the industries to their profitable side.
6. Digital functionality check of machine models
The future of industrial machinery and heavy equipment in the African continent is expected to be built on the virtual platform first and then after thorough commissioning, it will be built physically. This will be done to test for the machinery’s functionality through simulation. This trend in the future can detect and monitor the health and life-cycle of the equipment which will be profitable for the business.
7. A new engineering opportunity
With the advent of digitalization, the industrial sector will witness a new opportunity that will combine domain knowledge and skills. The workforce will not only have to be competent in the required engineering sector but also be skilled in the newest technology and tools which will build the entire ecosystem of industries.
Besides the key elements of digitalization in the industrial machinery & equipment sector, to stay ahead of the curve companies in Africa will also have to maintain their grip on digital twinning and sustainable business.