London – The Covid-19 crisis has put the spotlight on human-intervention and the need to safeguard people working in tire plants, according to Dominique Scheider, industry manager automotive & tire, Europe, Middle East, Africa at Rockwell Automation.
“It is very important to do all that we can to protect people, so and minimising the numbers of staff on site is an aspect a core attribute of this,” Scheider said in a livestream interview with Patrick Raleigh, editor of ERJ.
“The more that tire manufacturing operations can be managed remotely or from a control room, the easier it is to achieve this,” the Rockwell manager noted in the livestream, first broadcast on 20 May.
Certain technologies are proving particularly useful in this regard, according to Scheider.
For example, he said, augmented reality software allows remote-engineering expertise to be applied by engineers already at the plant – reducing the need for extra travel and more people on site.
“Working from home, as a ‘new normal’, will be also driving productivity, and hopefully also a better professional & personal life balanced,” Scheider further pointed out.
But, he emphasised, the adoption of automation technology “is not about reducing human input. In fact, people are easily the most important aspect of all future technologies.”
Indeed, continued Scheider, a successful digital transformation requires three basic elements: People, Process and Technologies.
“To improve productivity, efficiency and quality, humans will have to fulfil the roles most suited to their abilities– which are further up the value-chain, like design, analysis and decision-making at a business level,” he explained.
What machines do well is collate data and perform tasks, but “the role of the human is much more than this,” according to the Rockwell expert.
“So, investing in upskilling the human element of industry will ensure the payback over and over again in the digital future,” concluded Scheider.